Sigur RósValtari (Parlophone)

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The Independent Culture

The four years since their last studio album have found Sigur Rós in suspension while Jónsi Birgisson indulged his various side-projects.

A new album was announced in 2009 but then was scrapped, which begs the question as to whether its contents were any more persuasive than the eight tracks of Valtari, which, while pleasant, are somewhat underwhelming examples of the band's formula. Indistinct ambiences are gradually inhabited by swells of organ, piano, strings and voices, rising with awed mystery towards hints of an epiphany that never quite comes. Too often, the swell is followed by subsidence, leaving a forlorn memory – the celesta picking out the melody of "Valtari", the enigmatic piano of "Vardeldur", the organ of the hymn-like "Daudalogn".

Download: Daudalogn; Vardeldur; Valtari