Soundchecks Music Reviews

Sigur Ros

Fat Cat/ MCA

Note: they have a tradition of performing unannounced at certain arts festivals under the name Odin's Magic Raven.

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Sigur Rós

review by Michael Lohr

No record title, no song listings, no band member photos, no liner notes, nothing. Even the enclosed CD booklet's pages are blank except for the very faint image of bare tree limbs. The boys from Reykjavik, Iceland have done it again. This is modern, melancholy minimalist rock at its finest.

This record is the follow-up to the commercially and critically successful Ágaetis Byrjun and it picks right up where the last one left off, only more deeply into the ethereal. Jonsi Thor Birgisson still sings lyrics in his own made-up language 'Hopelandish' and mythic moves are everywhere. I heard one person say that the Sigur Rós is like a cross between Enya and Radiohead, and I can't really argue that point. Other influences I sense are Pink Floyd and Spiritualised. It is stark yet lush, introspective yet forthright, a duality painted onto a musical soundscape.

This record is not for the easily frustrated or confused. But ( ) is a more free flowing and sinuous of a record than Ágaetis Byrjun. It is breathtaking in its starkness, but at the same time it is inviting like a new bottle of whisky on a cold winter's night.

Edited by Tony Lee
for PIGASUS Press