Sigur Rós

Kveikur

Written by: HES on 17/07/2013 17:33:36

Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band. Out of Reykjavík, the band started making music already in the 90's and have risen to fame to such an extent that they have been on the Simpsons. That aside, they have also gotten their share of critical acclaim for their previous albums. "Kveikur" is their 7th album and their first after signing with XL Recordings. Known for their ethereal sound, the band makes use of bows on their guitars, cello, falsetto and other quirky elements which add to their dense, yet very minimalistic soundscape.

As mentioned above, the band is known for their ethereal sound. On "Kveikur" the band breaks a bit with the sentimental spaciousness of former records and ventures into a land of sharp, dark noises - hardening their expression with the use of guitars, lo-fi recordings and different tempi. Whereas the band has formerly been known for their serenity, "Kveikur" is characterized by moments of franticness and tranquillity. This juxta-position has always worked for me and it reinvents Sigur Rós as a band with more edge than ever.

The opener, "Brennistein" sets the mood as dark and gloomy, later broken by the pop-ish "Ísjaki" and "Rafstraumur". The entire album is composed out of longer songs than your average radio-songs. Frontman Jónsi Birgisson's soft but high-pitched voice soars over the more dark parts of the album, lifting it and giving the soundscape more air. The band has made great use of vocal distortions like echoes and other prolonging factors that make the voices blend in with the instruments. Bells are added in "Stormur" and ring with brilliance along cascades and cascades of ear-pleasing ambiance. And even though all of this may sound very artsy, the band has an amazing talent for making the bits in-between the absurd so catchy, that even after the first couple of spins the hooks will be stuck in your mind afterwards - and in Icelandic that is!

This album puts fortifies that Sigur Rós is not done surprising and reinventing. With "Kveikur" the band appears as not only one of the best bands ever coming from Iceland, but really one of the best bands in the world. They are able to not misuse your willingness to get into a very abstract soundscape and rewards their listeners with monumental goose-bump-providing post-rock. Although this album may not become one of their greatest successes in regards to album sales, this is the pinnacle of my Sigur Rós experience - locking the album safely in the list of "best releases of 2013" on my notepad.

9

Download: Ísjaki, Stormur, Kveikur, Hrafntinna
For The Fans Of: Kent, Agent Fresco, Arcade Fire


Release date: 17.06.2013
XL Recordings


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