Personnel: Magnús Trygvason Eliassen (percussion).
The creation of Seabear founder Sindri Már Sigfússon, Sin Fang (previously Sin Fang Bous) had morphed over the course of three LPs from kaleidoscopic art-folk to colorful but bolder folktronic-pop by 2013's Flowers. Three years later, he leaves behind any remnants of folk and embraces glitchy electropop on his fourth album, Spaceland. Even more of a departure is his R&B spin on the proceedings, which remain branded by his attention to detail. He also stays connected, to a degree, to an indie Icelandic sound with guests like Jónsi and Sóley, as well as like-minded Norwegian musician Farao. The album has its origins in anxiety, as Sigfússon wrote much of it after the onset of panic attacks. So, an otherworldly palette is accompanied by lyrics like "It's hard to breathe when there's no air." Track one, "Candyland," introduces this version of Sin Fang with manipulated vocals alongside whirring mechanical tones, bass, and clicking percussion and hi-hat, as the singer delivers a seductive half-whisper. The song features Sigur Rós' Jónsi, who can be heard on the tune's melodic chorus. Restrained yearning marks the vast majority of the vocals on the album, which are similarly accompanied by a humming atmosphere and sporadic grating sounds that prevent complacency. "Down" features the distinctive rasp of Jófrídur Akadóttir (Pascal Pinon, Samaris) and closes the album with calls for hope and courage. Despite its shiny, mechanical textures, Spaceland is a personal work, not only written at a time of distress -- the LP's cover shows Sigfússon with a plastic bag over his head -- but self-recorded and self-produced ("Oh, I was lonely/But that's the way it's supposed to be"). Like some of the best space-exploration films of the '60s and '70s, the results are full of longing and alienation, and deliver on the album's title. ~ Marcy Donelson