Tomorrow, Icelandic band Berndsen, fronted by magnetic namesake David Berndsen, begins its US tour (dates in the photo below) behind its just-released new album, Alter Ego. The LP is the band’s first in five years, though it’s released a small flurry of new tunes in the last two. “Alter Ego,” the new album’s title track, was the first of those tunes to surface, and it merits special reexamination now that the LP named after it is finally out.
“Alter Ego” is immediately alluring. A super-catchy bass line pops in and out of gorgeous synthetic waterfalls of sound to craft a sensual, wine-tipsy intro. This sonic mixture forms the song’s cornerstone, and across its remaining five minutes, further synthetic layers, sparkling guitar notes, and three-part vocal harmonies enter and exit the musical palette to ensure absolutely no boredom on the listener’s part. Berndsen’s singing style throughout lies somewhere between imposing Gothic rock figure and magical angel-savant. The song’s elements swirl around his voice for a mix that’s part smooth jazz, part new wave, part dream pop, and entirely blissful.
For all its Kaputt-esque seductiveness, “Alter Ego” doesn’t at all suggest the wild live shows that Berndsen’s become known for at countless Iceland Airwaves Festivals (catch him again this year, Nov 7-10). David Berndsen’s bright-red beard is in itself commanding, and he adds tons of kooky bodily movements—hip gyrations, crowd-surfing, sometimes losing-of-the-shirt—to his performances. The contrast among his stage presence, his appearance, and his band’s music is said to be among Airwaves’ most notable live traditions.
Of course, East Coast fans can see the spectacle for themselves in just a few weeks. Berndsen’s tour hits pretty much all the key cities along the coast—Durham, Atlanta, Boston, and of course Brooklyn—and some other notable hotspots including Chicago, Nashville, and Detroit. Facebook event links for the entire tour have been gathered here. Check out the rest of Alter Ego here ahead of the shows, and make sure to come dressed in your most sweat-ready attire—knowing the band’s reputation, there should be lots of dancing and grooving.