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Albums Reviews

Sigur Ros

Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
EMI
(Four stars)

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Neha Sharma Aug 09, 2008
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With their fifth studio album, the Icelandic quartet is earthbound after having existed mostly in a cryptic world of its own. With albums as Ágætis byrjun (1999) and ( ) 2002 (that’s the album name, yes) the band was treading esoteric plains with songs sung mostly in Volenska (”˜Hopelandic’), self-invented gibberish which only the band could translate to comprehension. But their last release, Takk (2005), made for more familiar sound with generous use of guitars and Sigur Ros seemed to be opening up to the real world. Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust is the most trenchable of Ros records. The first track to air off the album, ”˜Gobbledigook,’ cavorts in a pop-ish melody (very unlike Sigur Ros) ”“ postured in a dapper spin of vocals, throbbing drums and syrupy guitars played with a cello bow (typical Ros). The second track follows through in a celebratory air where the first one left off, but it’s with the third track ”˜Gðan daginn’ that a dulcet mood sets in with a simplistic riff on an acoustic guitar and bristling drums. The cavernous instrumentally stripped, vocal-heavy ”˜Festival’”“ with Jonsie Birgisson’s sensitively pitched falsetto well suited for cathedrals nailing a very Enya-inspired vocal quality. The track, clocks in 9 minutes 24 seconds, making it the lengthiest on the album. ”˜Ãra bátur’ (”˜Row boat’) is the single largest musical undertaking in the band’s career yet. It was recorded live in one take with the London Sinfonietta and London Oratory Boy’s Choir, a total of 90 people playing at the same time. The explosive measure of such collaboration, however, only sets in at the end of the track. The last track ”˜All Alright’ is hailed as being Birgisson’s first attempt at a track in English, but his almost whispering/slurring vocals kill comprehension in places. There is a healthy selection of key sets through the album, and frankly it seems most of the tracks feed off vocals and keys ”“ whereas the layering complexity on instruments on some tracks are just frills draping the root melody. Of course as is with all Ros albums, this one too is a brilliant exposition of an artist’s roots ”“ exploring the symphonic treasure trove of Iceland especially with the string sets and the Nordic chant-inspired singing style.

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