[Album Review] Sigur Rós - Kveikur

Sigur Rós has really matured since I last actively listened to them back when Rimur came out. They have successfully emerged from their neo-alternative-ambient-rock haze into a sound all of their own. Sigur Rós and M83 are two bands that really set the pace for what I like to refer to as "hipster music." This is the stuff you so often hear in your local Urban Outfitters, and usually includes bowed guitars, ambient noise, and someone singing into a megaphone and keeping a beat on their Casio bought at Costco--but I digress. They just keep breaking their own personal records for amazing albums.

For the first 7 seconds of this album, (Brennisteinn), I had thought that my computer mixed up the album with something from Om. It had that long, slow, drawn out distortion emerging from the silence and flying freely into the ethereal sounds that Sigur Rós has made famous.

They brought me down to earth again by the 4th track (Yfirbord) through a very radio friendly (at 4 minutes and 19 seconds even) song that brought in elements of their original neo-pop-rock sound.

My favorite track on the album is Kveikur. I love this song so much, it brings in heavy elements of doom in the beat and the bass and has an overlay of noise that is very constant throughout the track that I find highly appealing. It's very drinkable though for the common ear to be appealed through it's punky rhythm. I imagine this is what a unicorn foal hears in the womb before it's born. (I say this because I don't believe Iceland is a real place--much like the unicorn and the Icelandic language-- Iceland is a figment of all our imaginations and the largest of all government cover-ups (Hello! They have fairies there!))

Track 9 (Var) is a beautiful although short piece, more of an interlude. But I find its simplicity to be refreshing in the emotional ride that is a Sigur Rós album. It draws out the space between songs in such a way that you feel suspended by your heart strings over a foggy crevice without fear of falling because your emotional ties binding you to each melodic phrase are so strong, even if your convictions are short lived when you're placed back down on the other side of Var and into the instrumental simplicity that is the close of the album.

Hryggjarsula (I can’t make these names up folks) takes you from that lighthearted space and places you into the unknown. I found this track to be minimalism at it's best and I'm really pleased to see that the entire album was not dedicated to radio standard type songs.

The album closes much like any meditation would close, or a session of Yoga would end. I don't want to write in cliche's of this album being a religious or spiritual experience, but the band did a very good job of emulating a spiritual experience that was approachable and might be as close as some listeners may get to this type of feeling be it spiritual or psychedelic.

Sigur Rós is music for everyone. If you have any love for the art of music you will find enjoyment in this album from start to finish. I say, "Bravo" to these Icelandic innovators!

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