I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest Sigur Ros fan. But the Icelandic band’s last record, 2008’s Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust grew on me pretty hard. It took some time for it to show itself — it had embodied some of the band’s greatest attempts with its beautiful arrangements, harmonies and mood swings. But Sigur Ros’ follow up, Valtari, looses all the fun their previous record had and sticks to a more melancholy sound. And while that works for some tracks, things are too experimental and too drawn out to keep listeners interested for a full 54 minutes.
Yup. Nearly an hour long and only eight tracks. That’s fine but several songs don’t change enough or evolve to make you want to keep up with the album. The opener “Ega Anda” is stunning. Warm violins curl over synths and lead singer Jonsi’ one-of-a-kind vocals burst through. But the lead track is just one of the few songs that will sound familiar, warm and welcoming on Valtari. Another is “Varuo” — a glowing track that shines the brightest on the band’s sixth studio album. Jonsi’s reverb-soaked voice drips over violins and a choir while synths and a tricky piano riff delicately flows behind everything. Like a number of songs on their 2008 LP, the track builds up and explodes into a beautiful chaos of noise and sounds. Once again, Sigur Ros turn out another stunning track.
But the rest of the album comes in drabs with flashes of beauty. Things are way too sound and at times the band sounds like a Russian street performer begging for bread during the cold war — or at least this is the image that shoots into my mind when i hear songs like “Valtari,” “Dauoalogn” and “Varoeldur.” Wild, stringy violins crawl on for much too long while creepy pianos glisten over freaky sound effects. I mean, if you’re into the sort of thing where it sounds like you discovered a record from the 1940s that may or may not be haunted then sure, this album is totally for you…until you realize you won’t communicate with the other side and just got bored.
Sigur Ros will always have a strong following. Even on their worst attempts, Jonsi and the crew can manage to craft elegant sound tracks that sound like their made out of glass. Although Valtari isn’t the band’s most important or strongest LP it will easily satisfy Sigur Ros fans. But for the rest of us, it probably won’t get too much play but that’s OK — we’re not missing out on too much.
Listen to “Varuo” below:
- edmurphypal likes this
- thetransmitter said: This album is a the best representation of what they do best. It may not have a similar mood to Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. But this style of music and mood in this album is what made Sigur Ros, well, Sigur Ros. I give it a 7.8/10.
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