Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Sigur Rós
Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

When you’re the kind of band that Sigur Rós is, it’s hard to please people. Most of their fans are devoted followers of the Icelandic band’s majestic soundcapes. The fact that their lyrics are unrecognizable doesn’t really matter because of the way they remarkably craft their music. This also causes much doubt amongst fans that are waiting for the band to branch out and give something new a try. Well, it seems like the band has taken note and with Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, many aspects and approaches are very different. It’s a refreshing approach because through all of these dissimilarities, they are still the same great band.

The album begins with “Gobbledigook,” a song that sounds so exuberantly joyous it could nicely fit on the next Animal Collective album. From the opening sounds of the alternating guitar strums and the band’s “la, la, la, la” it’s obvious that the band has decided to tread new water. The drums follow with a distinct drumming and the music’s syncopated rhythms are paired wonderfully to lead singer’s Jón Þór Birgisson’s blissful singing. This change follows suit with the next song, “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur,” another bubbly song. The drums pound away as the music is highlighted by swirling strings, tinkling toy keyboards and a chiming piano. And even with all of these changes, the band sound as good as ever.

One stark modification to the band’s approach is that this is their first album that took less than a year to record. They also enlisted the help of Flood to produce the album, who is best known for his work with Nine Inch Nails. What Flood has been able to do is convey a new sound and feel to the band; whereas their previous albums focused the attention on huge walls of sounds, here, you can practically hear what every instrument is doing.The guitar strums on “Góðan Daginn” are a fine example of this: the microphone is placed so close to the guitar that you can hear every little thing done on it, including the rebound noise.

Now, all of these changes don’t necessarily mean that Sigur Rós is incapable of creating affecting music, quite the contrary. “Festival” is a flourishing, slow building song that keeps you absorbed and engaged for its entire nine-minute composition. The beginning is supported only by minimalist strings and synths and Birgisson’s lovely vocals. Around the four and half minute mark, more pounding drums and a steady guitar appear. The drumming then becomes more complex as the tempo is increased and lush layers of strings are added to the mix. The song ultimately climaxes to one amazing, goosebump-enducing, shiver-causing climax.

What really makes everything work is how seamless it all appears. “Ára Bátur” was recorded live at Abbey Road studios and it delivers a magnificent performance by a band that is hitting on all cylinders. Even the closing song is nothing short of breathtaking, the band’s first English-sung song, “All Alright.” Nothing is lost in the language transfer and the music which features a light piano and plenty of reverb is a fine accomplishment.

These are all signs of a band that know exactly what they are doing. It’s one thing when a group follows a different path but it’s another thing when they excellently succeed at it. Whether it is the new production, the new sounds, the new language or maybe just the unique cover, everything works for Sigur Rós; Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust is something exceptional.