FM Belfast is an electro-pop band from Reykjavík, Iceland. Its members include Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir, Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson, Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason, Egill Eyjólfsson and Ívar Pétur Kjartansson.
FM Belfast formed in late 2005 as a duo of Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson (Plúseinn) and Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir, but didn’t really get going properly until Árni Vilhjálmsson and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason joined. The band was a studio project for some time until the Iceland Airwaves festival 2006 when the band expanded into a full-on live act. The members now vary from 3 to 8 depending on member availability. The core of the band is made up of Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson (Plúseinn, Hairdoctor, Motion Boys), Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir, Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (múm, Borko, Skakkamanage), Egill Eyjólfsson, and Ívar Pétur Kjartansson. They are joined sometimes by Sveinbjorn Hermann Pálsson (Terrordisco), Björn Kristjánsson (Borko, Skakkamanage), Birgitta Birgisdóttir and Eiríkur Orri (múm, Kira Kira, Benni Hemm Hemm).
Andri Snær Magnason, three-time recipient of the Icelandic Literary Prize, says he has to attend a FM Belfast concert at least once every six months, according to doctor’s orders. It is worth mentioning that Andri Snær is not a doctor, but his father is a doctor; his grandfather was a doctor; his sister is no less than a neurosurgeon! Should we, the common, soot-stained masses, doubt the professional medical advice of an entire family?
The band’s live show often features many percussionists, among them are Sveinbjörn Pálsson, Björn Kristjánsson (Borko), Halli Civelek, Svanhvít Tryggvadóttir, Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson (Retro Stefson) and Þórður jörundsson (Retro Stefson).
Their first album was recorded in New York and Iceland, with the group recording, mixing, and mastering it, and creating the album artwork themselves.
Árni Vilhjálmsson has since left FM Belfast. (by wikipedia)
And “How To Make Friends” is the debut album by the Icelandic band FM Belfast, released in 2008.
Kicking off with the swagger and sass of “Frequency,” and falsetto lyrics about someone being their “designated driver” over a crisp, punchy arrangement that’s half-classic electro and half-classic EBM, FM Belfast come up with How to Make Friends, an album that takes bored-youth-seeking-kicks clichés and turns them into something just a little twisted. If the basic model of “21st century act reclaims synths from the ’80s” is equally well established — there’s very little on the surface that would distinguish the Icelandic act from any number of similarly minded acts in the U.K., the U.S., or many other spots — there’s still something purring along in most of these songs that feels enjoyably off. Rather than embracing sparkly overload or queasy psychedelic disruption, FM Belfast lock down call and response vocals and observational lyrics with almost brutal rhythms — “Tropical” may well be the least likely song to possess such a total, the only aspect suggesting a random playfulness being a sweet melodic part up against flatly sung words. At the same time, while the lyrics might not always be entirely sunny, there’s plenty of straight up joy to be had with the arrangements on songs like “Synthia” and “Par Avion,” so it’s not like How to Make Friends is simply po-faced through and through. Still, there’s a forced moment where the band takes on Technotronic’s pop-rave confection “Pump Up the Jam” and turns it into a slow and all-too-stiffly sung hotel-lounge swoon — the idea is cute, but ten seconds is all one needs to get the idea. (by Ned Raggett)
This album comes with 6 inserts illustrating the songs lyrics:
Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir (vocals, various instruments)
Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson (keyboards)
Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (various instruments)
Árni Vilhjálmssona (vocals, various instruments)
01. Frequency (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.49
02. Underwear (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.09
03. I Can Feel Love (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.33
04. Tropical (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.09
05. Pump (cover of Pump Up The Jam by Technotronic) (Kamosi/de Quincey 2.42
06. Par Avion (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona/Pálsson 3.16
07. VHS (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 2.52
08. Lotus (cover of Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine) (Commerford/Rocha/Morello/Wilk) 3.44
09. Optical (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.21
10. Synthia (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.14
11. President (Hjálmtýsdóttir/Hlöðversson/SmárasonVilhjálmssona) 3.45