Album: Sigur Rós, Kveikur
Saturday 15 June 2013
Few bands have become quite so stealthily ubiquitous as the Icelandic post-rockers. Over two decades, their ambient soundscaping has combined the epic and the ethereal so skilfully as to make them the first port of call for TV and film producers looking to hit the button marked "emotional".
Though, by the same token, it's a sound that has seemed to congeal into a formula over the years – stirring, sentimental, and altogether too safe. So good on the trio for toying with a more turbulent idiom on this seventh album. Churning opener "Brennisteinn" is the most pointed deviation, its industrial-gothic vibe coming over a bit Smashing Pumpkins. Meanwhile, "Yfirboro" features a pounding but muffled rave beat that suggests it was recorded in a club toilet, while is that an air of seething menace I detect in frontman Jonsi's typically cherubic falsetto on the title track?
OK, so, in all honesty, it's not that different: those moments aside, there's plenty more that is beautiful, forgettable and primed to aid a little light Sunday-afternoon catharsis. But at this stage in their career, I'm not sure Sigur Rós need much more analysis. Better to stare at the sky wistfully and be done with it.
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