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Old 03-02-2009, 07:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Artist: Sigur Rós
Album: Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Year: 2008
Genre(s): Post-rock, indie rock
Rating: 8/10

Over the course of the nine years that have passed since Agaetis Byrjun brought them to fame, Sigur Rós have focused progressively less on timbral experimentation and progressively more on pop songcraft. Unsurprisingly, Med sud i eyrum… is the band’s most song-oriented album yet---every song is memorable and melodious. In some ways, this newfound pop sensibility is fortunate; by shaping their dreamy sonic elixir of piano, guitar, bass, drums, strings, and brass into concise tunes, Sigur Rós have sidestepped any dangers of slipping into muzak and ensured the longevity of their status as Iceland’s leading rock band. This concision is further exemplified by the album’s artwork and packaging; discarding the extravagance of the schemes from Agaetis Byrjun and (), this album comes in a simple digipack in which the only artwork is the (unjustly maligned) image of escape and freedom that graces its cover. Even so, I can’t help but miss the boundless prog-rock ambition and coloristic invention of the band’s masterworks, and as such, this album strikes me as being less a classic, and more a really good modern pop record.

The album with two of the most immediate songs of Sigur Rós’s career: “Gobbledi****” and “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur”, both of which have more in common with the Arcade Fire than Godspeed You Black Emperor. As these opening tracks suggest, and the remainder of the album confirms, the band has made a number of shifts instrumentally since Takk.... Most importantly, the bowed electric guitar, while still present, is much less prevalent; instead, acoustic guitars dominate. The bass guitar has a punchier tone, and on many songs it supplies a driving rock backbeat--a stark contrast to the melodic bass playing on songs like "Ny Batterí" from Agaetis Byrjun. A choir performs on "Ara bátur", lending a kind of ghostliness to the song's dramatic climax. Aside from these changes, however, the band's core sound remains intact, and sounds as vital as ever.

Despite the seamlessness of the band's adjustment to the demands of the four-minute pop song, their greatest heights are still achieved when they opt for the eight-minute crescendo. "Festival" builds from weightlessness to bombast in what only be describes as a euphoric rush, propelled bya prominent bassline which, around six minutes in, suddenly goes static, remaining fixated on a single note for over a minute before ushering in a melodically majestic climax. The song concludes, without a hint of irony, with whistling--a gesture so unabashedly twee that you can't help but smile at it. The darker "Ara bátur" follows a similar template, achieving its peak emotional intensity amid cinematic crash cymbals and horns.

The band's comfort with extended songwriting suggests that, even though Sigur Rós are now creating music that is much more suited to the ventures of everyday life than the soul-searching and pathos of Agaetis Byrjun, their roots remain firmly in the melodramatic. Indeed, the idea of an emotionally neutral Sigur Rós seems vaguely absurd. But by integrating a more joyous spectrum of emotion into their sound, the band has produced a more rocking, almost danceable album that at times could even be described as--unbelievably--a great summer record.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well written review; I have often thought about the issues you approach. On one hand, I hate that Sigur Ros are no longer what they were when they crafted ágætis byrjun; but on the other hand, who wants anything static, even if it is amazing? I have come to embrace the dynamic progression of Sigur Ros. I appreciate what they have become and I allow myself to be swept up in their accessible melodies. I still prefer the depth and unique creativity of ágætis byrjun, but I don't run from their recent work. It is still excellent, especially when you compare it to most other "pop" music.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Isn't this the album that has a song with a video where there is a nudist colony in the video? completly weird but kind of funny.
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