Páll Óskar – “Kristalsplatan” (2017)

I’ve never listened to Páll Óskar before, but even without any advance expectations I already knew there were two things that made Kristalsplatan interesting enough to blog about, both specifically related to the vinyl version.

The first is the packaging. I’ve never seen anything like this before. The whole thing comes in it’s own thick plastic sleeve, with the image of Páll Óskar attached to it. The colored background isn’t a traditional cardboard/paper record jacket though. Oh no. It’s actually a thick piece of plexiglass with the coloring printed onto it. The record itself is in a plastic sleeve, transparent vinyl with tiny A and B side labels. There’s a lot to take in here, and it’s clear that Páll had a very clear vision for the physical product he was creating. And it’s spectacular.

Next is how Páll handled pre-orders for the vinyl for buyers in Iceland who purchased via Heimkaup.is. He told people that if they pre-ordered he’d personally hand-deliver the record to them. Not to their mailbox, or their front porch. He came to your house an gave it to you in person. Now, from what I heard when I was in Reykjavik last fall he wasn’t actually able to fully accomplish this, as way more people bought the vinyl than were expected to, but he did distribute quite a few of them in person and posed for lots of photos with happy Kristalsplatan owners.

So how’s the music? You know, it’s some pretty damn good pop. Heavily synth driven and very danceable, with brisk beats overlaid by Páll’s beautiful voice. It’s upbeat, enough so that it can at least wipe a frown off your face if not make you smile outright at the absurdity of it all (and by “it all” I mean life). Sure, the songs are in Icelandic, but the mood is infectious, trust me.