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Benni Hemm Hemm

It wasn’t that late. There was a bit of wind, but it wasn’t too cold. Everything seemed to be calm. It was comforting to know that Icelanders aren’t screamers. The seven of them, accompanied by a ukulele, trumpets, maracas, and a trombone, didn’t come to play fanfare. They came to bid us good night.

Benni Hemm Hemm’s horns have never led an army. They’re like a soft mattress. They started off in the middle of an enclosed plaza, letting out a full, rich sound. It was as if they were playing in a small box whose lid had been taken off, letting the music spill over and into the open city.

They were wise and excited at the same time. This is usually the case for bands that have more musicians than an English rock festival. Three-quarters of the band members seemed to come out of nowhere, as if they had just skipped out of work, stepped out of their kitchen, or taken a break from their round of Mastermind. These guys are a force, these part-time indie boys; a force that has a capacity to inspire and amuse in a way that’s becoming more rare as time passes.

Take a look at the guy with the misshapen parka and ukulele in hand. Look at the way he steps with youthful glee, advancing, crab-like, towards the camera. Shoot a glance towards the walk-on with the maracas rolling on the ground. Listen to the foreign tongue. We understand nothing except that what they’re saying is soft, tranquil, and the perfect accompaniment for such a beautiful evening.

Thanks to Matt Evans for the translation