Opener ‘Brennisteinn’ serves to make clear the shift in approach between this, Sigur Rós’ seventh studio set, and last year’s ‘Valtari’. It presents a driving rhythm, distorted guitars and something resembling a conventional structure.
‘Kveikur’ sounds like a band reborn. Having lost multi-instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson in 2012, the Icelandic outfit decided to challenge themselves a little by roughening up the edges and toning down the glacial euphoria.
On this evidence, it was an especially fine idea. ‘Ísjaki’ builds to a looping, almost poppy conclusion, and ‘Bláþráður’ possesses a frenetic, surging pulse across its five remarkable minutes.
No two songs sound similar and, while Jonsi’s vocals confirm that this is, really, the artist on the album sleeve, it is far from more of the same.
Words: Gareth James
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