Even with big Icelandic shoes to fill here (Bjork, Sigur Ros, Mum), one-man-band Bardi Johannsson (a.k.a. Keren Ann’s avian half in Lady & Bird) is frustratingly unambitious: Anything enticing about this EP of micro-managed, melancholy pop is undone simply by its meagerness. Two of the four songs featured are different takes on the title track (an album version and a live recording), and that kind of gamble doesn’t pay off unless the product is stellar.
As it stands, “Find What You Get” doesn’t justify double-duty treatment. It contains the necessary ingredients for an enjoyable brand of ephemeral indie-rock lite but never quite collects them into a totality of any substance. Johannsson’s thin voice and breathy harmonies fail to haunt or hypnotize, and the song’s simple, crisp drumming isn’t enough on its own. The sole consolation is the surprising tightness of the live take. “It’s Alright” and “Follow” are monotone ballads that feature similarly wispy vocals and half-accomplished studio maneuvers.
Find What You Get is ostensibly the teaser for the U.S. release of a Bang Gang full-length, Something Wrong, in 2007. But that album was originally released in Iceland in 2003, and the fact that the material will be four years old when the album officially comes stateside makes the EP’s unwillingness to offer a fuller picture of the Bang Gang sound all the more confusing.