Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Record Label: XL Records
Release Date: June 23, 2008
Ever since 1999's ethereal masterpiece Agaetis Byrjun put Iceland's Sigur Rós on the map, they have received worldwide recognition for crafting heartbreakingly beautiful melodies, often characterized by reverb-drenched guitars and vocalist Jonsi Birgisson's crooning falsetto. One thing was clear to me the first time I heard them, however - through all the effects and the longish song structures, Sigur Rós was a pop band at heart. Even though through their music they vigorously denied it and tried to avoid it, on their fifth album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, they finally seem to be embracing it.
Sure, 2005's Takk... had flashes of pop brilliance, like "Glosoli," "Hoppipolla," and "Saeglopur." And as a whole it seemed to have a warmer, more upbeat feel to it then previous releases but it was time for a change. As great of an album as it was, the formula was starting to get a little stale. Sigur Rós could have easily kept following their own rules and continue with the sound that Agaetis Byrjun, ( ), and Takk... had made them famous for, and they probably would have delivered a great album too, but instead chose to reinvent themselves and deliver a superb one.
From opener "Gobbledigook," you'll be checking just to make sure the CD really says "Sigur Rós." The tribal drumming and the acoustic guitars devoid of the distinct coating of reverb channels bands like Animal Collective and Anathallo far more than Sigur Ros' older material. "Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur" has a distinct summery feel to it, and finds Birgisson feeling out his natural range instead of delivering the song in his trademark falsetto. "Góðan Daginn" and "Illgresi" are straight up acoustic ballads, while songs like "Ara Batur" (which was recorded live in one take) are filled to the brim with a grand, almost over-indulgent amount of horns and thundering percussion. "Við Spilum Endalaust" also comes complete with horns, but is applied in a far more tactful way.
"Festival" is the exception that proves the rule. The first four minutes or so of the nine-minute track, as beautiful as it is, could have just as easily been an outtake from 2002's ( ). It seems completely out of place on a record that, so far, has been all about change, until in the middle of the track, where a buildup begins, and the band makes it clear that their ( ) days are behind them. The most shocking change comes not in individual nuances, but how much catchier and more accessible the album is as a whole. Hook-laden "Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur" and "Við Spilum Endalaust" seem to scream "SINGLE!"
Undeniably though, the best part of the record, though, is that through all of these changes, Sigur Rós has not lost the ability to make you feel their music. To make you understand it without having to know what the words mean. To wrap you up in the music to the point where your surroundings are dissolved. To make you cry like a child. Yes folks, Sigur Rós has changed quite a bit, but in that respect, they're still the same ol' Sigur Rós.
All in all, I'm going to say great review. I absolutely love this album. While it's not quite my favorite of theirs, it did score pretty high up in my books. The only big thing I saw with the review, is that you didn't even mention the fact that they, for the first time, recorded an entire track in English for the album. While, it is the classic vocal styling of Birgisson, and you are hardly able to understand any of the words, it was a huge move for the band. But, like I said, aside from that detail, I love the review, and I love the album..
Great review, although I'm not sure I entirely agree "Festival" feels at all out of place. "Ara Batur" follows a very similar formula, and "Fljotavik", "Straumnes", and "All Alright" all have that same meandering musical style. I think that these songs balance out the pop-sensibility of much of the rest of the album, rather than becoming out of place as a result of it.
definitely on par with Takk for me. its just very different.
Agaetis Byrjun > Takk... = Med sud i eyrum vio spilum endalaust > ()
i hated () minus Tracks 1, 3, and 8. the repeating vocals pushed false English lyrics into my head. also, it just sorta sounds like post-rock i've heard before. i cant put my finger on what or who, but it was very predictable.