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Sigur Rós - Hvarf / Heim CD (album) cover


Sigur Rós


Post Rock/Math rock

3.51 | 56 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars Between the two albums 'Takk...'' and 'Međ suđ í eyrum viđ spilum endalaust,' the Icelandic post-rock band SIGUR RÓS released this double disc album titled HVARF / HEIM which some sources seem to list as a compilation and others as a bona fide album release. Disc one - HVARF contains three unreleased tracks, the track 'Von' from the debut album as well as the track 'Hafsól' which was originally only available as the B-side of 'Hoppípolla" from 'Takk...'' Disc two - HEIM is a set of six live acoustic versions of tracks that were presented on the documentary 'Heima' which presented SIGUR RÓS's tour around Iceland in the summer of 2006. Of these six live performances, 'Von' is included as well making it appear twice on this release. Although they are live performances, it is impossible to tell that they are so since there is no audience noise participation and sound as polished as any studio release. The tracks are taken from the albums '( ),' 'Á'gćtis byrjun,' 'Takk..'' and 'Von.'

Like their bona fide studio albums, HVARF / HEIM was very successful all across Europe and with the independent crowds in the US. This Icelandic act delivers the expected journey into the frosty cold post-rock journeys that they have always been known for but the albums comes across as a more chilled and laid back affair sounding most like the ''g'tis byrjun' album with sensual airy keyboard runs accentuated by Jón ''Ţór " Jónsi" Birgisson's ethereal falsettos (in Icelandic) accompanied by bass and drums. In other words, the band performs just as expected without any deviations from the norm. The chord patterns and floating cloud atmospheres lollygag leisurely through the friendly skies while mid-tempo beats prance about like lucid pegasus ponies on a lazy afternoon and none of the unreleased would sound the least bit out of place on any of the albums prior. And unfortunately they fail to craft distinct identities from the other.

Soundtracks have to work double duty to win me over. They were created exclusively for accompanying the visuals and commentary that fits into a bigger scheme of things as background music for a film or documentary but often soundtrack music doesn't have the gusto to pull off unaccompanied listening alone and such is the case with HVARF / HEIM for me. The fragility of SIGUR RÓS' sound is like that of an eggshell and one tiny crack and the whole system fails. While carefully crafted albums work beautifully even the less loved debut 'Von,' random track offerings such as HVARF / HEIM just seem a little lackluster as the tracks just aimlessly float by without the context of the visuals that they were designed to augment. Overall there isn't enough to win me over on this compilation and / or album. It's not that this isn't pleasant music in the least and any hardcore fans will surely want to own this one, however it's just not one that draws me in for repeated listens and lacks the distinct charm that albums like 'Takk...' so successfully employed. The unreleased tracks are the more interesting ones.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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