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Sigur Rós - Takk... CD (album) cover


Sigur Rós


Post Rock/Math rock

3.90 | 331 ratings

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars 'Takk'', the fourth album by Sigur Ros is the 3rd album in their amazing run of 5 star albums. This time, most of the albums lyrics are in Icelandic, except for 3 tracks which are entirely in Hopelandic; 'Andvan', 'Gong' and 'Milano'. The songs on the album have some very tricky meters which can change several times within a single track.

The album starts with 'Takk'' (Thanks') which acts as a drone-like introduction to the album, setting the mood for the band's signature sound. 'Glosoli' (Glowing Sun) was the first single released as a download only release on iTunes. The video for this song is one of the band's most memorable, the migration of children to a cliffs edge where they jump off and swim through the air, taking inspiration from the JD Salinger classic 'Catcher in the Rye'. The music has levels of synths and light percussion with the signature vocals. The music grows increasingly intense until it get to the end where it creates a thick wall of sound of guitars, keys and percussion which suddenly drops off leaving soft synths and chimes.

'Hoppipolia' (Hopping Into Puddles) was the 2nd single from the album and was nicknamed 'The Money Song' because the band considered it a commercially successful song. It is quite a bit more standard sounding, but has the lush sounds with a heavily orchestrated sound with strings and brass. The melody and the instruments utilizing lovely melodies making the sound quite victorious sounding and dynamic. 'Meo Bloonasir' With a Nosebleed) acts as a coda of sorts to 'Hoppipolia' and continues with a variation to the melody from that track, with more standard instruments instead of the orchestra.

'Se Lest' (I See a Train) begins with tonal percussion and Jon's falsetto swirling around wordlessly with layered vocals below that. Strings come in developing the sound somewhat and then growing softer again as more vocals continue and soon the strings swell again. This is one of those tracks where his vocals sound more like an instrument then a voice, very beautiful and angelic. Towards the middle, things quiet down to nothing but chimes and vibes, sounding very childlike and innocent, and Jon's voice eventually comes back in softly with the same high falsetto. The brass starts to come in now and starts to swell as the other sounds fade off. There is a slightly carnival type feel as the music slips into a valse tempo, then fades back to the minimal sounds again.

'Saeglopur' (Lost at Sea) is another single from the album and is, again, another recognizable track. This is one of my favorites from the band, and is also accompanied by another excellent video depicting a young child drowning and being rescued, but very artfully done. This track has been used for several movies and TV shows like 'Life of Pi' and 'Aquaman'. The music is very soft and relaxing at first, but halfway through becomes more frantic and intense, the melody becoming more front and center making it easy to recognize. After the long climax, the music softens to a droning guitars and piano with the angelic vocals continuing. The layers ebb and flow in intensity until the end.

'Milano' (named after the Italian city Milan) is the longest track at over 10 minutes. It was written together with the band and the string quartet 'Amina'. It is based around a lovely music box style melody that repeats itself as the music develops around it. The strings become slowly louder as they create a lush layer of sound under the keys and bass. A moderate tempo becomes more apparent as the song continues with Jon's signature vocals bringing in an increase in volume and intensity. This softens again at about the midway point bringing back the main music box theme. The track develops around this melody as other instruments and layers join in and it suddenly reaches another apex after 7 minutes. It quiets down and slowly fades.

'Gong' fades in with a guitar arpeggio and it quickly becomes more upbeat and less minimal, but still peaceful yet more like a standard song. The lyrical quality of the vocals drives this song more than the preceding tracks, as they are less of an instrument on the track and thus standout more as on traditionally constructed songs and building towards the heavier middle then settling down to chiming guitars and strings. 'Andvari' (Zephyr) is another tricky song with changing meters and a pattern of time signature changes that is heard in the 27 bar melody. The accents on different beats translates into a complex pattern while playing against 18 bar phrases in a background of 3/8 time. Quite complicated, yet very progressive. That strange pattern still produces a beautiful and quiet track that stays lush and pensive throughout.

'Svo Hijott' (So Quietly) begins with softly ringing synths that bring in a theme with a soft electric piano and vocals. Once again, Jon's voice becomes a beautiful instrument alternating between falsetto and stronger vocals. The music swells, bringing in strings and a strange haziness. The unique e-bow sound comes in more apparent on this track as it intensifies and it all turns into another thick wall of sound, and then backs off a bit leaving a steadier rhythm before building again. 'Heysatan' (Haystack) is the last track and, except for the intro track, the shortest track at just over 4 minutes. It stars with a slow chord progression done by the guitar and a sustained synth underneath it. After a minute, pensive vocals come in as this one remains quite minimal as an epilogue to the album. Yet it is still lovely.

I continue to love Sigur Ros unique sound and beauty. Even when the sound is the thickest, it is still beautiful. This album is more pensive and seems to have a theme of childhood and innocence and the effect that bad experiences can have on innocence. While the previous two albums had more dissonance and heavier sections at times, this one stays on the softer side, yet it still can conjure up some unsettling sections. Where '()', the untitled 3rd album from the band seemed to be based upon each song building upon the last to create a heavy climactic ending to the overall album, this one has apexes at different times, yet still stays more pensive than the untitled album and 'Agaetis Byrjun' before that. The latter album experiments more with dynamics, where this one takes its time to develop, but does so in shorter bursts and less often. All 3 albums are masterpieces, however, and I consider them all easily worth 5 stars for their ingenuity and unique, yet lovely sound.

TCat | 5/5 |


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