Sigur Ros – Kveikur Sigur Ros – Kveikur

Sigr Ros -  Kveikur (2013)

Sigr Ros – Kveikur (2013)

Time to review Sigur Ros. I wonder how much music I have collected from this Icelandic band over the years. It couldn’t be something ludicrous like somewhere near half a day, could it? Holy shit. Perhaps, I could do a marathon spent in concert with ethereal noise angels and album titles I sort of mumble to pronounce. The band’s seventh album, Kveikur, promises to engulf me once again.

Since my internship at Pinpoint, I have written reviews for the band’s sixth record Valtari and their 2012 live record/art project Inni. From just glancing at my own reviews I notice a deflated excitement mixed with begrudging optimism. Both Valtari and Inni were far from bad yet the level of excitement never came close to the bands early work including (), Takk, and the now legendary Ágætis byrjun. In fact, ever since Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, the band has found themselves in dire straits wanting to push forward past the crescendo-centric post-rock which made them famous. Following a hiatus and a thousand tears from fans, the band returned with Valtari, a ginger ambient album which acted as a reset for their career. If one would like to think of the followup Kveikur as a sophomore record, it wouldn’t be far off. Through many stones of uncertainty, I believe the band has once again found their footing.

Art school kids rejoice.

Without going track by track through this album, I do want to point out the strong opening of Kveikur with not only “Brennisteinn” but the second track “Hrafntinna.” “Brennisteinn” was featured on a preceding EP and showed the band returning to a heavy atmosphere with confident drone and colossal drums. The song struck a balance between dreamy demeanor and thundering alertness. “Brennisteinn” then gives way to one of the album’s highlights, “Hrafntinna” which through bell chimes and subtle melodies is surprising in how arresting it becomes. I only pause at the entrance of the record to admire the architecture as the same composition and formula can be heard throughout the record. This is an album which could have only been made at the end of a long path through frustration, acceptance and eventual resolve.

The charm of Kveikur is in its subtlety. I know the very nature of Sigur Ros is based around accents and undertones but skipping through the album will not result in any concise narration. There is no starting point with apex and ending. Things are more dynamic and interesting. There is a dazzling mid song drum roll in “Yfirbord” which continues until its very end which eventually dissolves into noise and silence. “Rafstraumur” has a spectacular interchange between heavy electronics and gang-pop choruses. Kveikur displays its strengths in vocal melodies rather than the claustrophobic waves of strings and choirs. Things are more clear and come with a renewed sense of focus. I am ready to, once again, feel emotion.

It has been awhile since I truly enjoyed a Sigur Ros record. Albums which came out before were given attention and praise based on previous accomplishments. It has truly been a long time since the band’s merits have stood up on their own and presented a record which stands apart from their noble lineage. Kveikur gives Valtari meaning as the rebirth of a great Icelandic band who is far from being done with making me cry. Bravo, gentleman…goddamn wonderful job.

Kveikur Tracklist:
01 Brennisteinn
02 Hrafntinna
03 Isjaki
04 Yfirbord
05 Stormur
06 Kveikur
07 Rafstraumur
08 Bláprádur
09 Var

Sigur Ros - Kveikur, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2013-06-24T06:34:33-07:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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