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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Initial Thoughts Album Review #4 - Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum end

Initial Thoughts Album Review #4
Unpretentious album reviews that forgo the big words, analogies and obscure music-references to simply voice some initial thoughts and gut reactions.

Sigur Rós

Með suð í eyrum við spilum end

I have been listening to this all day long and I am very excited about it. I have been a fan of most of Sigur Rós's previous work (especially Takk and Agaetis byrjun), but their albums were never the ones that I listened to all of the time. If they came on while my iPod was on shuffle, I would often hit next. It is therefor with much excitement that I say that Með suð í eyrum við spilum end will not suffer a similar next-ed fate. The album is much more organic feeling - lots of acoustic guitar, lots of strings. The signature cello-bowed hyper-reverbed electric guitar is still present, but not in its previous place of prominence. This album is phenomenal. Standout tracks for me have been Góðan daginn and Ára bátur. Við spilum endalaust, Suð í eyrum and Gobbledigook are also strong contenders for favorite tracks. While I wouldn't say their previous LPs have been "unlistenable" this album is significantly more listenable.

As luck would have it, the boys from Iceland will be playing live in Omaha tomorrow night. I would be there, but it is my wife and my 4 year anniversary AND she is about to pop with our 1st child. I thought that having the resounding distorted-reverb of Iceland's greatest musical export (sorry Bjork) induce labor would be a pretty awesome story. For some reason, the Mrs. didn't think that would be as great as I thought. Oh well. I'll be content simply listening to Með suð í eyrum við spilum end another few hundred times.

New Thoughts After a Couple More Listens

I think that this album seems more listenable because the songs seem to be more tightly focused. Also, many of them more closely follow a traditional verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus format (or some variation thereof). Key examples are
inní mér syngur vitleysingur and við spilum endalaust. Don't get me wrong, the album still has plenty of more lengthy, and pensively wandering moments (festival), but much of it follows more traceable (though not necessarily predictable) melodies and trajectories. This lends to a more balanced album. It is excellent for both the casual or shuffle-induced listen as well as the headphones-on-deeply-focused-on-every-nuance-in-the-music listening sessions. I reiterate that the substitution of distorted-reverb-cello-bowed guitar with the more organic strings and horns gives the album a much more earthy tone. The omnipresent harmonic vocal oooo-ooooings of the band also help augment the emptiness left by the absent cello-bowed guitar. Wow. I like this album more and more with every listen!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. Although I can't pronounce any of their albums or most of their songs. I'm also diggin the new Fratellis which, thankfully, is a little more toned down from their last.