not a member? click here to sign up

Hvarf-Heim

Sigur Ros’ songs have a tendency to go on way too long, but the group’s peaks are such that we must cherish them, flaws and all.

Rating: 7 ½ / 10

Kilian Murphy, 05 Nov 2007



Hvarf-Heim is split into two sections: the first (entitled 'Hvarf’, naturally) contains studio versions of previously unreleased tracks, while the second (‘Heim’) includes acoustic versions of material already in the public domain.

Well, to describe the record’s second segment as “acoustic” may be a touch misleading: it is acoustic in the sense that bleary, whale-aping shoegaze guitar and wispy electronic touches are kept to a minimum. It is not acoustic in any fashion that brings to mind one-man-and-his-guitar traditionalism; Sigur Ros’ music is always lavish and expansive, even on these supposedly “low-key” re-interpretations.

‘Heim’ is actually considerably superior to ‘Hvarf’, though it is debatable whether this is down to differences in arrangement and studio treatment. The more obvious explanation may be that the former simply contains stronger tunes: the six re-shaped tracks provide a decent primer for Sigur Ros’ studio releases to date, and the soft, weightless arrangements (mostly based around organ, piano and strings) certainly do not detract from the songs’ considerable melodic strengths.

‘Staralfur’ is the record’s obvious stand-out, though again, one must say that it is not due to the manner of its re-interpretation. The original was a thing of twinkling, nocturnal beauty, and probably represents the group’s high watermark to date. Its gorgeousness is certainly held intact here, though it is debatable whether it is enhanced.

The ‘Hvarf’ section is more hit-and-miss, as it showcases the two extremes (extreme beauty and extreme boredom) of Sigur Ros’ sound. To their detractors, the Icelandic group combine the blandest elements of coffee-table with the most pompous and long-winded aspects of post-rock and shoegaze. This is occasionally true, and on tracks like ‘Von’ and ‘Hafsol’, the listener’s patience is severely tested by the group’s graceless plod towards another pointless guitar crescendo.

Things improve when the group sound as if they are going nowhere, and taking their own sweet time about it. Opening track ‘Salka’ captures Sigur Ros’ essence perfectly: idiosyncratic, perverse, yet as relaxed and easy-on-the-ear as any contemporary chill-out record.

Sigur Ros’ songs – even the good ones – have a tendency to go on way too long, but the group’s peaks are such that we must cherish them, flaws and all.


Rating: 7 ½ / 10
Artist Related Content

Latest Related Articles For This Artist

Sigur Rós join forces with James Vincent McMorrow in Dublin

It's an al fresco affair in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham


News: 29 Jan 2016

Sigur Rós Hint At Forthcoming New Material

Sigur Rós have stated on their website that they will play new material during next year's European tour.


News: 25 Nov 2015

LISTEN: Sigur Rós' Game Of Thrones song

They've covered 'The Rains Of Castamere', taken from the A Song Of Ice And Fire novels.


News: 14 Apr 2014

Sigur Ros live at The O2

The last time I saw Sigur Ros, at Electric Picnic 2012, they did what I considered impossible: bored me to the point where I spent the second half of the gig people-watching rather than basking in what’s usually a beatific communal glow.


REVIEW: 26 Nov 2013

Hot Press Meets Sigur Rós

Approaching their 20th anniversary, Sigur Rós have shed a band member and their icy exterior. They've also gained a seventh album and immortality on The Simpsons. An amiable Georg Hólm tells Craig Fitzpatrick about messing with Jónsi's bowed guitar...


Interview: 02 Jul 2013

best of ireland

Contact Us

Hot Press,
13 Trinity Street,
Dublin 2.
Rep. Of Ireland
Tel: +353 (1) 241 1500

Email:info@hotpress.ie

Click here for more contact information.

Click here to find out more about Hot Press

Hot Press always welcomes feed back so if you've got something to tell us click here.

Advertise With Us

For more detail on how to advertise with Hot Press click here or call us on +353 (1) 241 1540