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Sigur Rós - ( ) CD (album) cover

( )

Sigur Rós

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.95 | 293 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FloydWright
Prog Reviewer
4 stars ( ) is a darker, more brooding album than its predecessor Agaetis Byrjun, which, in what may be a deliberate irony, is very much the opposite of its brighter cover art. I recommend it to anyone interested in PINK FLOYD, RICK WRIGHT, or even RADIOHEAD for their musical aspects, but they are more ambient than any of those--more along the lines of later TALK TALK. There are even some classical overtones, despite their seeming to move past the full-orchestra approach for a more minimalistic one. Don't be daunted by SIGUR ROS' deliberate air of mystery--this is truly a worthwhile album.

This album has new emotions for SIGUR ROS--sadness, even full-blown rage at the end of Track 8. The first group of four songs is closer to the old SIGUR ROS, more delicately beautiful, and while mournful at times, also uplifting. Track 2/Track 3 are the perfect examples of this, especially Track 3, which is a pure instrumental (no singing at all), with a gorgeous piano sequence. It's one part elegy, one part celebration. For all its sadness, it slowly builds up an amazing amount of power, and even as it dies away, you can't help that remaining sense of lingering joy. It is achingly bittersweet.

Over the second half of ( ), SIGUR ROS moves into its new emotional territory. Discord, heavy, brooding arrangements, and much more anguished, sometimes bitter vocals set this section apart. I appreciate the Hammond organ, which becomes more prominent on the second half of the album. Track 5 in particular shows them off well. I am reminded in part of the way RICK WRIGHT used the Hammond on PINK FLOYD's classic "Us and Them", and for that feature especially, I commend Track 5.

You have to be patient to listen to ( )--the songs build very gradually to a crescendo that does not always come. Track 7 moves closer to bitterness--and then there is the explosion in Track 8. At first it sounds like it will be a triumphant closing anthem and then--WHAM! I've heard few better expressions of such blinding anger...it's actually stronger because it has no recognizeable words. Rather than a momentary and someday laughable teenage-angsty outburst, this is an expression of pure emotion itself almost up there with PINK FLOYD's "One of These Days" (which does have one distorted lyric, but is otherwise an instrumental). That is why I can appreciate it so much as SIGUR ROS explodes into rage with JONSI's chilling voice hovering over the chaos.

The only weaknesses of this album, in comparison with Agaetis Byrjun is, as other reviewers have pointed out, that Jonsi seems far less creative with his made-up language than before. And...I have to admit there are places where this album does begin to try my patience, which is why I don't listen to it as frequently as others. Still, it's a good, solid album worth a 4.

FloydWright | 4/5 |

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