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Thursday, 15 August 2013 |
When it comes to Iceland’s Sigur Rós, you either love them or loathe them. Any music lover can appreciate the skill set of these gentlemen, but it takes an open mind to really get into their music.
Kveikur is their seventh album and the first recording since the departure of original member Kjartan Sveinsson earlier this year. Sveinsson yearned for something different from life in a band and so Sigur Rós are now a trio. However these three lads still create music that takes you somewhere else.
In this album the band still maintain their ethereal sounds with the flawless falsetto of singer Jónsi, however the tracks all seem to have a dark undertone about them.
There is an volcanic explosion during opening track Brennisteinn (meaning “sulphur’) reminding you that Sigur Rós themselves are a musical force of nature.
Ísjaki is the first single and catchiest of all the tracks and has the familiarity of a signature Sigur Rós song.
The album is sung in Icelandic or Jónsi’s made up language, Hopelandic, and you can’t understand the lyrics (unless you listen to it with google translate ready to go). However there is something cathartic about not knowing what’s being said. It gives the listener some extra space for personal interpretation. With Jónsi’s beautiful vocals that steal your attention, it doesn’t take long to forget that you’re listening to a foreign language.
If you are a bit of language nerd and do like to know what the songs are about, then it won’t come as a surprise that most of the songs have references to nature and the paradox of the harsh and beautiful terrain of Iceland: Brennisteinn (sulphur), Stormur (storm) and Isjaki (Iceberg).
All together it is a Sigur Rós album that encapsulates that signature beauty and strength, however you can hear a difference with harder sounds and sombre tones. It’s a step in a new direction for a band that can’t really be compared to anyone else.
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