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Album Review

On Forever, their first album in five years, Gus Gus takes the spare, linear sound of Attention to an even farther extreme, resulting in a set of tracks that are just a little too streamlined for their own good. As on their earlier work, the poppier, vocal-adorned tracks are among the best: on "Hold You" and "You'll Never Change," Earth holds her own as a dance music diva, turning out strong, soulful vocals that complement their austere surroundings. Collaborator and former member Daníel Ágúst also shines on "Moss," a remix of a track from his chamber music-inspired solo album Swallowed a Star; "If You Don't Jump (You're English)," which pits spoken vocals against twangy guitars and a rapid, shuffling beat, is another highlight. However, most of these tracks are too long and repetitive, a problem that shows up even more glaringly on Forever's instrumentals. Tracks such as "Lust," "Porn" and "Demo 54" feel unfinished and overdone at the same time, looping on the same crisp percussion or bubbling, acid-inspired synths without much embellishment or evolution. Forever isn't bad, but it is frustrating, and ends up feeling more like remix fodder or a Gus Gus loop kit than a full-fledged album.


Formed: 1995 in Reykjavik, Iceland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

As a quirky, several-member co-ed band from Reykjavik, Iceland, GusGus were almost bound to inspire comparisons to the Sugarcubes, though a mid-'90s arrival caused the group to inherit influences from contemporary club music as well as trip-hop, rather than the post-punk lunacy that inspired the Sugarcubes during the late '80s. Associations with a pair of the hippest independent labels -- first England's 4AD, and then Germany's Kompakt -- powered the group's sustained profile from the late '90s through...
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Forever, GusGus
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