Icelandic musician cooks up rock pastiche for the padded-cell set
If you dumped blues, power pop, psych rock and heavy metal into a transmogrifying machine, the machine would rumble mysteriously, then spit out a brightly colored block of a hitherto unimagined polymer known as Mugison.
The one-man band’s guitar-and-computer pastiches have earned him the highest mainstream accolades in his native Iceland, which implies that the Icelandic mainstream is a bit more tolerant of unabashed weirdoes than its U.S. counterpart. At its best, Mugiboogie
sounds a bit like Spoon, if they were kind of insane and way into Primus. Heavy-metal screams round off into blues sneers over crispy-fried guitars, with the kind of spazzy rabidity that’s synonymous with Ipecac label head Mike Patton. On this prismatically diverse album, there will come a moment—perhaps during the surprisingly self-descriptive psych-rock stomper “Jesus is a Good Name to Moan,” or perhaps during its prog-metal foil, “I’m Alright”—when you think, “Let’s all take a deep breath.” Personally, I prefer Mugison when he’s mellower and more centered (as on languid, synthetically symphonic folk tune “Deep Breathing”). But you gotta admire a guy with the sack to name his George Harrison rip-off/homage—wait for it—“George Harrison.”