- 01 Jul 08
Icelandic eccentrics grasp for greatness
Making their music accessible has not always been a priority for Sigur Rós. For much of the previous 14 years and four albums the Icelandic band have lost themselves in a world of their own making, writing songs in the inscrutable nonsense language Hopelandic and even releasing an album unnamed and without song titles. No matter, their eerily sublime music was as unforgettable as its creators' approach to the industry was unconventional.
However, with Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (which translates as With A Buzz In Our Ears We Play Endlessly) you sense that they are reaching out to a wider audience, with Jónsi Bergisson even singing in English for the first time on final track ‘All Alright’. There is a sense throughout of horizons being widened, prompted perhaps by the band’s decision to record not just in their Álafoss studio, but also in London, New York and Havana. The resultant Með suð is a consistently engaging album; you can savour individual tracks or gorge yourself on the rich whole. Either way, it works. There is a wonderful sense of immediacy to certain songs, with the vigorous strumming and hand claps galore briskness of ‘Gobbledegook’ being a case in point.
Still nobody does grandiose like Sigur Rós and the central pairing of ‘Festival’ and ‘Ára bátur’ reach convincingly for epic status. Building majestically from lonely piano and voice to all-consuming choir and orchestral crescendo, the latter track is particularly awing. Their most approachable record, Með suð might also be Sigur Rós’s best.
Key Track: ‘Ára bátur’