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Sigur R贸s: Kveikur

Sigur R贸s 鈥 KveikurSigur R贸s
Kveikur
(XL)

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After two albums of mostly drifty ambience or acoustic quiet, it feels like it’s been a while since Iceland’s Sigur R贸s has flexed any of its muscles.聽But any fears of the band losing its vitality are quickly squashed by the violent and dirty bass throbs of “Brennisteinn,” the opening track on the harsher and darker Kveikur.聽The band resurrects its long dormant dark side on “Brennisteinn” and on the excellent title track, while still showcasing its unique and unmatched ethereal atmospheres, arrangements, and singer Jonsi’s soaring choir-boy vocal melodies.聽Most of the album however, features somewhat more straightforward songs than usual, some almost pop-leaning (“脥sjaki,” in particular), largely eschewing the group’s oft-used, slow-build-to-explosive-climax formula for a charging industrial stomp, often with forceful drums and clanging, metallic percussion (especially with the strings and horns of the almost neo-folk “Hrafntinna”).
It’s nice when a band can surprise you far into their career. Sigur R贸s聽have been at it for a while, and Kveikur shakes things up just enough to provide a nice jolt to the band’s formula. This is easily the group’s best album in nearly a decade.
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About John Mordecai

John Mordecai is a musician and writer from New Haven, Conn. He was the bassist for Brooklyn-based ERAAS (formerly APSE), and also plays (sometimes) in New England-based Shark and Brooklyn's The Tyler Trudeau Attempt. He also maintains a blog (sometimes) at http://selfsensored.wordpress.com/
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