- Audio CD (5 April 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Single
- Label: Parlophone
- ASIN: B0037M5WVU
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,867 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Go is the exhilarating, joyful and fearless solo album from Jón Thor Birgisson, known to the world as Jónsi, the lead singer of Sigur Rós.
Featuring nine songs drawn from the large pool of material amassed by Jónsi during his many years as singer with Sigur Rós, and arranged in collaboration with classical wunderkind Nico Muhly ("one of the hottest composers on the planet" - Daily Telegraph), Go also features sleeve art conceptualised and realised by Jónsi's sisters Inga and Lilja.
Long-term fans of Sigur Rós could be forgiven for feeling a little nervous about Jónsi Birgisson’s new project. The quartet he usually fronts possess many admirable qualities, but their international success owes much to a mystique greatly enhanced by lyrics that are gobbledegook to most. Singing in Icelandic has the useful effect of making you sound like the house band from a science fiction film, an in-built benefit Birgisson has decided to eschew with his first solo record, which is sung mostly in English. If the Sigur Rós spell is ever to be broken, this might be the moment.
Thankfully the otherworldly force is strong in this one. Jónsi’s vocal style is so strikingly distinctive that most casual listeners will be too distracted to notice the language difference, while his music remains reassuringly offbeat. Ostensibly a solo record, Go is also heavily indebted to Nico Muhly, the gifted young American composer with strong Icelandic links and a passion for fusing tuneful pop with the avant-garde: Grizzly Bear’s 2009 opus Veckatimest made good use of his arrangements, although things get slightly out of hand on Birgisson’s record. Several perfectly agreeable songs are unexpectedly hijacked by a cacophonous onslaught of instruments, with Finnish percussionist Samuli Kosminen setting the furious pace. It’s as if Muhly hired an enormous orchestra, but only for a few hours, and so made sure he got his money’s worth.
Birgisson was planning an acoustic record originally, and the slower works here come as a relief after lengthy periods of dizzyingly intense orchestration. Too shrill for some, his voice remains one of modern music’s most readily identifiable instruments, capable of euphoric peaks and hugely affecting introspective moments. Striking out alone can be nerve-racking for even the most talented of artists though, particularly when your lyrics will suddenly be exposed to wider scrutiny too, so you can understand the compulsion to submerge them under a wealth of drums and strings.
In fact his words often intrigue. Tornado, for example, sounds like a tear-jerkingly tender attempt at comforting a loved-one, initially. “You’ll learn to know,” opines the Icelander, before insisting that “You grow like tornado” and “You kill from the inside.”
Fear not: Jónsi’s air of mystery remains intact. --Si Hawkins
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Top Customer Reviews
Start at the most radical departure which is "Boy Lilikoi". Gentle waves of warm synths tinkle in the background and then a joyous vocal follows from Birgisson that is so sweet that it could almost be a Scritti Politti song. Likewise the albums opener "Go do" is all fluttering flutes and bouncing rhythms which build up to a remarkable noise and has the word "single" stamped all over it. Animal Arithmetic on times sounds like euro disco but it is excellent, madly danceable and with enough twists and turns to give your speakers multiple identity problems. "Tornado" alternatively is a darker and fuller beast for which you must employ the overused word "epic", as Jonsi sings "You grow like tornado, you grow from the inside, destroy everything"
The album in its second half moves into more familiar Sigur Ros territory and again works so well he ought to patent this music.Read more ›
And that's when it all made sense. This album may be Sigur Light, in many respects (shortened track lengths, never quite so over the top) but the melodies and the song writing are utterly spell-binding. The pop-ish songs grow on you eventually and provide a wonderful contrast to the beauty of "Tornado", "Sinking Friendships" and most notably: "Grow Till Tall", which is as stunning a piece of music as Jonsi has ever produced. In many ways, the pop songs "glue" the album together better than any previous Sigur Rós album due to the increased range of more upbeat emotions on show -- the energy created during the first four tracks makes the slower pieces that close the album all the more moving and intense.
"Go" will be overlooked by many: too "different" to be pop, and too "pop" to be Sigur Rós... But give it a chance and it will leave a very profound mark on you. This is an almost perfect musical experience from beginning to end. Buy it, give it time, and eventually treasure it.
The album kicks off with the more accessible songs that people who have come to Jónsi without going through the Sigur Rós route might appreciate. The songs ('Go Do', 'Animal Arithmetic' and 'Boy Lilikoi') are the poppier ones on the album and are of course more immediate to those who haven't approached this through their love of post rock. But if you liked the 'poppier' songs on the last Sigur Rós album then this is nothing more than you got there. So you post-rock diehards can relax. We also get the full range of Jonsi's remarkable voice here. Check out 'Kolniður' - starts on low notes but the high pitched falsetto that appears towards the end of the song is breathtaking, it just soars.... The grandeur builds through the album as it gets steadily more soulful till the beautiful climax of 'Grow Till Tall' and 'Hengilás'. This is wonderful ethereal stuff, and as good as anything Jónsi has written before.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought after hearing the pink ladies advert on tv. DissapointmentPublished 3 months ago by Gordon McCutcheon
stunning solo album by the lead singer of Sigur Ros (my favourite band). You may recognise a couple of the tracks from TV adverts.Published 11 months ago by Flowform
Only bought it for the track 'Grow Till Tall', however, turns out the album is really good.
Now checking out other albums of his.
What a lovely album. Such an unusual voice this man has, very Sigur Ros orientated of course but they are a great group so was hopeing that this would be the case. Read morePublished 12 months ago by MRS V DOWNS