Top positive review
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Powerful and Evocative...
on 2 March 2007
...is two adjectives that come mind for this record. This was my first exposition to Sigur Rós. And on first listen, I was rather bemused. No really I was, the first time I listened, I am not sure I knew what to think, It didn't really make any sense, to the point where it stayed in dark deep bottoms of my CD cupboard until a few months later. Indeed I thought I had made terrible mistake, buying it, after all what attracted me that strange afternoon in HMV, was the beautiful packaging. And Indeed it is beautifully packaged, a crystal white slip case, with paranthesis cut out, covers the jewel case, which itself has just contains blank book of black and white artwork on what I can only describe is soft parchment. You could say it is represenation of what is to come, once you slip it into your cd player. The sparse emptiness of the packaging is certainly a visual metaphor, for the dark empy heavy drones that precede on the album.
Having put the CD on few months later, I finally began to appreciate these were more than ramdom drones, but evocative emotions that transcended language barriers. The album is divided into two parts seperated by a 30 second silence after track 4. It begins with "untitled 1" or "vaka" as known as its known by its working title, which starts off with a desolate piano intro. A feeling of disconnection and emptiness is what drives the both halves of the album, sparse drum beats float, while Birgissons "hopelandic" falsetto coo's lonely in a gaseous depth strings and other instruements. The second half is rather more aggressive, and definetley more heavy, with the guitars coming through more clearly particularly as the band descend into "untitled 8" (Popplagið"), which has the most unhinged and what I can only describe as the most narcotic drumming climax I have ever heard. Overall this album is definately a slow burner, and is not for the unadventurous, its not an easy album to like and probablly won't win over many new Sigur Rós fans, but it is in my view the most powerful and evocative of those in Sigur Rós' discography so far.
Its hard to really point out highlights in this album, as it is really concise and so well balanced, "untitled 4" and "untitled 8", definitely stand out, but otherwise this album is made to be, and is best heard so, all the way through.