Amiina Amiina EP

Everyone might know these cute little Icelandic pixies from their opening stint for fellow countrymen Sigur Rós. This is their second EP and the first to showcase their recent name change (note the extra "i”), and it includes such stunning changes as the addition of vocals. There’s a little sympathy attached to reviewing this band because no matter how good their music gets — and by the indication of this EP, it’s going to get quite good — they will always be "those four cute girls playing weird instruments.” But, image problems be damned, there’s some serious ethereal pop weirdness to be had. "Ugla” is the gauziest and features the slightest of vocals, yet it is also warm and fuzzy enough to wrap your head around. "Ammaelis” goes a little lo-tech with its beats but is quite inventive with Amiina’s use of unconventional instruments and, in a weird indie turn, gang shouting. However, it is opener "Seoul” that showcases the band at their best. Getting lost in the slow and deliberate nature of the piece, one admires the originality of Amiina’s vision, but there’s also a certain distance that keeps the listener from connecting. It’s quite lovely but further judgment is going to be saved until their full-length. (The Workers Institute)