Bara Flokkurinn – “Lizt” (1982)

On our trip to Reykjavik earlier this year I came home with two Bara Flokkurinn records – their 1981 self-titled EP and 1983’s Gas. Apparently I missed their second album, a problem I rectified when we were back in my favorite city again for Airwaves and I completed my Bara Flokkurinn catalog with 1982’s Lizt.

Much like their other two records, Lizt is a classic example of European new wave from back when it was new and fresh. Bara Flokkurinn sing in English, making them very approachable and revealing lyrics that are definitely on the darker side.

When will nations learn,
To relaize when they are lookin’ in mirrors.

As far as they are concerned,
You might be helpful just blowin’ your brains out.
I close my eyes and cry,
I’m just as useful as an unmailed postcard.
— “Wonderful Creation”

So there’s that. Plus there is a song called “Mr. Penis,” which has a repetitive chorus of

But don’t think this is just sad bastard music, because it’s not. This isn’t music designed to bum you out, more like music to listen to at night, when it’s dark outside and you just want to stay in and drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes. The song that sticks out the most for me is “Orient Wild,” a track that doesn’t seem to fit with Bara Flokkurinn’s typical sound. It’s more edgy, abrupt, and dark, maybe like Warsaw or the relatively new Danish band Shiny Darkly, though it still holds onto just enough new wave style to not be a total outlier.

Lizt is more like two EPs than one complete LP. Side A is more standard new wave fare, while side B is a bit more aggressive and jarring, and these seem like the more interesting songs on the record. I like side B better – it’s different and feels more creative, not quite as formulaic. This sort of split personality makes this a very enjoyable record since you feel like you’re hearing two different sides of the same band. The overall genre is the same, it’s just that one side is more experimental and interesting. Well worth a listen if you can find the vinyl.