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Quiet is not always bad
on 20 October 2012
Having been a great fan of Sigur Ros for a large part of the last decade, the prospect of any new album release from this quartet of wonderful musicians is something which I relish with great anticipation, and the first listen of their previous material never fails to disappoint.
Their latest offering however, has been a little different.
I would class it as a 'grower'.
Upon a first listen, Valtari seems completely unlike any previous Sigur Ros albums - although the major ingredients are all there (Jón Þór Birgisson's haunting falsetto, beautiful string sections etc.) they seem to have been mixed differently. The result is not the slap-in-the-face attack on the senses that previous albums provided. Rather, it just hums a little, tingling away at the back of your mind. It is initially not distasteful or unpleasant, it just is not what you expect. However, with perseverance and repeated listening (my preference is when I am alone in the car) you hear little snippets of what makes Sigur Ros music so great, and when you piece them all together it begins to make sense.
There is none of the bombastic, orchestral Post Rock-ness found in ( ) or Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, and there are no hum-alongs like Hoppipolla or Sæglópur.
But it grows and grows and grows. And you eventually find that you can't help falling in love with their music once again.
They may have changed direction slightly but it is under no circumstances a wrong turn.
It challenges you as a listener unlike any other Sigur Ros album, but like a difficult jigsaw, when you place the pieces in the right order, it is so satisfying.
Once again I find myself eager for their next commercial release, curious as to what they will provide their audience with this time.
(A note on Amazon delivery - once again they provided a good service. A price that can't be beaten, particularly as I live in Luxembourg. Good job all round)