ALBUM REVIEW: “Kveikur” by Sigur Ros

SigurRos

I have to admit that I am a late comer to the Sigur Ros party and although I’ve secretly wished I was a fan of the band for the last eight years of my life the truth is I haven’t been. This is my own fault and I’m willing to admit that. The reason this is my fault is because I let something as stupid as the very people I should have related to (the fans of the band) turn me off. I know I’m not alone in this type of feeling that occurs when fans of a band are incredibly feverish and annoying about the genius of a particular artist. It has that same kind of feeling of when someone says to you “You’ll really get on well with my friend (insert name here), they are exactly like you.” For some reason that sentence really irritates me and almost puts a social pressure on your shoulders that you must like this person simply because you are so “alike,” fuck it irritates me. The same thing I guess happened with Sigur Ros, so many people telling me “this is the band for you” and through my own stubbornness I boycotted liking the band even though I enjoyed what I heard. I think a good relationship is not rushed and you arrive at it in your own time through your own interaction. In terms of Sigur Ros that took me eight years and from January to February 2013 I went out and brought the bands catalogue and have been enjoying it ever since.

So there you have it, I was wrong and a fool for being so stubborn about liking Sigur Ros but you know I pride myself on being a balanced human being who is able to admit my faults and point the finger inwards when the moment calls for it. You’ll be heaps more radical with your life choices if you admit your mistakes and character flaws instead of deny them but you know that is up for discussion in another blog post.

After the release of one of their best albums (in my humble opinion) last year – the amazing “Valtari” – the band returns just a year later with “Kveikur”  which sees the band take a new more “band direction” compared to the ambient hums of “Valtari.” This feels like a “two steps back five steps forward” kind of record with all kinds of familiar sounds being torn apart and re-assembled giving the band a new flavour as they enter their 20th year as a group.

That mood and that journey is still there and the album sucks you into the amazing Sigur Ros universe from the moment it starts. As promised by the band the album is indeed more “aggressive” but not in an “attack, attack, attack” kind of way. After having lived with and studied the music of the band for the past six months this album feels as close as we’d get to a “rock” album from the band and trust me I use the word “rock” very loosely. All the weirdness and beauty is still intact but the band plays it with a bit more clarity and a little less “post rock” formula. This feels like the freshest statement from the band in a very long time but it also feels like the kind of record that a band would use to announce the end of their career. It has a magnificent type of “finale joy” to it and exists almost as a celebration of the bands history. Although that is purely my speculation the band sounds both free of the past and excited about the present but that excitement also carries a hint of uncertainty with the album scattered full of “roll the end credits” type songs. I guess that is the power of Sigur Ros though the way they can be so dramatic and cinematic, it really does engulf you.

All of that aside I have only spent 24 hours with this album but after some intense listening sessions with this record I have to say that I love it quite deeply. This is how pop music should sound in 2013 and I’m once again thrust into regret for not following this band sooner. They provide so much joy but the journey to reaching that joy is an intense and emotional ride, the kind I love to experience every time I put a record on.

Don’t wait before it is too late, get into Sigur Ros now and make sure you check this album out because it is a delicate movement of pop music for the free thinkers and tea drinkers.

10 Cassette Tapes out of 10

By: Dan Newton

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