Music review: Sigur Ros, Brixton Academy, London
As their set begins at Brixton’s theatrical O2 Academy, it is little wonder that the post-rock of Sigur Ros has found its way on to numerous movie soundtracks and the small screen.
Silhouetted by an iridescent white silk-screen of their own, shrouding the stage, the band’s aesthetic is as mesmerizing as their soundscapes, which fall like light rain on the still and silent crowd.
New track Yfirbord is an acoustic shimmer which sees Jonsí Birgisson’s ethereal vocals and ambient guitar-bowing complemented by images of nature and flesh projected in white light onto the gauze. The effect, as always with Sigur Ros, is epic.
As the curtains fall for Vaka (Untitled #1), nigh on a dozen musicians are revealed, with a brass and string section adding extra majesty to the efforts of the Icelandic trio (now minus keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson, who left the band in January after 15 years).
The oceanic themes of Sæglópur and Fljótavík are explored with persistent hissing cymbals and deep-blue imagery respectively, bringing an icy chill to the sense of awe in the engrossed the crowd - surely one of the quietest to have filled the Academy in recent memory.
This being their first UK tour in five years, the set is a retrospective of the band’s career, with the atmospherics of Varúð (‘Caution’) being one of the few tracks offered from last year’s underwhelming album Valtari. But underwhelming Varúð is not.
A cheer greets the band’s most commercially successful song, Hoppipolla, though, in a telling sign of the devotion of those in the crowd, it is not the loudest of the evening.
The set is a masterclass and each track is performed with a flawlessness as haunting as the music itself. Sigur Ros have always been at pains to present their vision of musical perfection, and this evening is no different – though they save a twist in the tale for last, with new track Kveikur.
A far rockier offering that evokes the ghost of Muse’s past (when they were actually worth listening to), it marks a distinct and exciting change of direction for a band that has for so many years stuck – however impressive it may be – to a formula.
“2013 promises to be an interesting year in the Sigur Rós universe” the band promised in a post on their website ahead of the European tour, encouraging fans to come to their live shows. They are certainly are delivering on that vow.
Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Cumberbacklash: Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange riles Marvel fans
Best horror films of all time
Benedict Cumberbatch describes the 'explosive' Sherlock sex scene that will never happen
Downton Abbey season 5 episode 6 - review: Thomas and Lady Edith show sad signs of the times
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything