Mammút, 'Kinder Versions' (Bella Union); Hof, Akureyri, November 2nd; Gamla Bío, November 3rd
These gigs – in the formal calm of Akureyri's concert hall and an overflow Reykjavik crowd the following night – were my second and third sightings just this year of a band that has grown exponentially, in force and dynamics, since my initial Airwaves sighting a decade ago. After their fierce closing-night set at the festival last year, I wrote that Mammút were "ready for the world" – a declaration confirmed this summer by their first English-language album, Kinder Versions. "Breathe Into Me," "Pray for Air" and the album's seven-minute opener "We Tried Love" were sustained sorcery: ascending whirlwinds of arctic psychedelia spinning out of Alexandra Baldursdottir and Arnar Pétursson's arpeggio-and-effects-pedal crossfire and Katrína Kata Mogensen's binary vocal spell of avenging Kate Bush and late-1966 San Francisco. English may be Mammút's second language, but Kinder Versions is native poetry.