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Sigur Rós - Kveikur CD (album) cover

KVEIKUR

Sigur Rós

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.67 | 69 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The latest Sigur Rós CD hasn't earned much attention yet on these pages: evidence, maybe, that their soporific ought-twelve album "Valtari" lulled even diehard fans into a blissfully narcotized coma. The band has since been reduced to a trio, and to compensate for the loss of their keyboard player the rhythm section was pushed forward in the mix, overwhelming even the awesome drone of Jónsi Birgisson's bowed electric guitar.

The end result is a surprising return to a younger, heavier Sigur Rós, while still marking a bold step forward in style and attitude. The new album takes the ethereal soundscapes that have always defined the Sigur Rós sound and forges them into a louder and more powerful noise, reminiscent at times of the Texas quartet EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY enjoying a Scandinavian vacation. Gone are the extended Post Rock crescendos, replaced by something approaching the icy extremities of Post Pop: a dense, agitated, surging wall of music with a welcome ray of bright arctic sunlight at its heart.

In a different setting the album might have sounded (almost) conventional. Songs like "Ísjaki" and "Stormur" are as accessible as this enigmatic band has ever been, but the majestic tempos and trendy over-amped distortion happily mask the relative simplicity of the writing, without hiding it completely. And the weirder effects sound like BJÖRK somehow crept into the recording studio while no one was looking and tampered with the master tapes.

Analog listeners will have to forgive the noisy digital production, atypically 'hot' for such an otherwise wintry ensemble, and sounding in places like the bitter end of a fried sub-woofer (or inner ear pan). Notice how effective the quieter moments are, minus all the grinding percussion and distorted guitars. And the pair of Japanese-market bonus tracks add a contrary touch of formless, near-industrial ambience, showing how beautiful an inorganic machine can be when the cogs are properly oiled.

Otherwise the album makes a brave attempt to re-establish Sigur Rós as the primal entity they once were, instead of the spent creative force the band seemed in danger of becoming.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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