Sigur Ròs

The title of the fifth album by Sigur Rós (‘með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust’ ) officially translates as “with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly” according to their website -. It sounds even better in Italian: “con un ronzio nelle orecchie suoniamo all’infinito”.

Jón þor (jónsi) Birgisson could be singing about erupting Geysers and the vagaries of the Icelandic climate for all I know but that doesn’t stop them sounding epic and passionate.

Calling the opening track Gobbledegook is inspired since it acknowledges the impenetrability of their lyrics in a playfully ironic way. Even the one track (their first) in English might as well be in a foreign tongue. As with Animal Collective, which this track resembles, the beauty is in communicating a mood (joy/bliss/delight/abandonment) not in imparting some profound philosophical reflections.

An album which on one track features a 70 piece orchestra can hardly be said to be going back to basics but there is nevertheless a new directness and purpose to their sound which their last album ‘Takk’ lacked.

Within the emotional sweep of these immense tunes you can hear that they are rooted in simple acoustic and piano refrains. The production skills of the ubiquitous Flood have given the band a crispness that makes their sound more avant-pop than emo-prog.

The Moby-fication of so called ‘ambient’ music means that music lumped into this genre is frequently appropriated for natural history documentaries or upmarket commercials rather than listened to in its own right. This album deserves a nobler fate as it is a glorious record.

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