Local Wire

Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós' latest is positively festooned with danger signs: first album to be recorded mostly outside the band's home base of Iceland, first to feature a track sung in English, and the first co-produced by a big-shot dial-twister (Flood, of Depeche Mode and PJ Harvey fame). Somehow, though, these seemingly suspect compromises actually bring out new and beguiling qualities in the band. The new material ranks among the most accessible offerings Jón "Jónsi" Thor Birgisson and his cohorts have issued, but tunes such as "vid spilum endalaust," featuring a rapturous Brian Wilson-meets-Mr. Freeze arrangement, prove to be wonderfully uplifting, not commercially grasping. As a bonus, "all alright," the aforementioned English-language ditty, is as difficult to understand as any of the stuff warbled in Icelandic. Thanks for maintaining some mystery.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently oversees Westword's news blog.
Contact: Michael Roberts