on 26 March 2007
Given their presence in the pop world since 1999's Ágætis byrjun, you'd be forgiven for not knowing that 2005's Takk... was in fact Icelandic rock group Sigur Rós's major label debut. After their collective star was shot into the ascendant with Ágætis, not to mention backed up further by 2002's () and a couple of soundtrack assignments, the Rós was snapped up by EMI to begin work on their fourth long player. With EMI keen to get their mitts on some of the twilight majesty of Ágætis as opposed to the stark beauty of (), they couldn't have asked for a more fitting effort from the four-piece as they have offered an unabashedly mainstream affair, though still tempered with enough sparkle and artistic integrity to melt even the hardest of hearts. Cynics may argue that the band has well and truly sold out big time (and their songs' inclusion on near enough every single advert on television suggests this certainly), but even that can't deter from the many spectral delights that are as emotionally stirring as anything else in the band's back catalogue.
It can be said that the band on this CD sound like one at their most exultant and joyous, leaving behind much of the drama and tragedy that infused their earlier works with such resonance (even Ágætis had its fair share of tormented noise). Compared to the operatic wordless vistas of (), Takk... sees frontman Jonsi singing in his trademark falsetto about jumping in puddles, raking haystacks and the glowing sun, deliberately facile lyrics sung with rapt expression amid a backdrop of alternating sweet percussion and/or orchestral grandeur. Texturing the work also are distinct rhythmic scuttles and scratches, reminiscent of Aphex Twin's quieter moments or fellow Icelanders Björk and Múm, which help to imbue the pieces with an electronic fluidity as the guitar feedback soars alongside the string and brass sections. Obvious highlights include the singles "Hoppípolla" and "Sæglopur", the latter's piano chords helping to summon possibly their most epic moment to date and the former's irrepressible orchestral pomp never failing to stir. And for those who can't listen to these songs without thinking of reality TV shows or charity adverts, then the noble quietude of "Sé lest" and the giddy dance of "Gong" should serve as alternate remedies perfectly.
However, the true beauty of the LP is present first and foremost in the band's unwavering identity and their not sacrificing key facets of the music at the behest of promises of worldwide acclaim. Sure, Takk... is without doubt their most accessible CD with regards to its livelier, happier emotional meter than their previous work as well as the glossy mainstream sheen that positively bounces off of each of the songs (even the potential-filler "Hoppípolla" reversal, "Með Blóðnasir"). Yet it still manages to invest enough of Sigur Rós's unique, elemental nature to secure their international status as one of the world's leading rock outfits and everyone has to give credit where it's due to a band that still sound this young, vital and effusive eight years down the line. Once the overbearing hype cools off, or all of those adverts come out of circulation, Takk... will be rediscovered as one of the best albums of the decade and a calling card for one of the most important bands working in pop music today. Simply magical.
on 8 July 2006
The first time I come to Sigur Ros was in HMV. My eyes were glued to the cover of Takk... I was wondering who they are when I picked up the cd. Then I put the headphones on and the music came out. I just listened to 3 songs, without a doubt, I bought it. It's better to sit down and have headphones when you listen to it. You feel nothing can disturb you, you are comfortable and your heart is quiet. Then you are totally absorbed into the songs and your mind fly away to Iceland with the music, it brings you the beautiful landscape, a moment of relax, a kinda sensation. Sometimes when I listened to it, it touches me so much that my tears fall down, I cry because I've got the joy that other music cant give me, After listening to it, my heart somehow is full, you come to know that life can be looked from other points of view, then you come alive again! I can't decide which song is the best one, but I`d say this piece of music can't be divided, say it as a whole, ONE.
If you are looking for some music that's spiritual and can touch your soul, Takk...is the right choice for you. If you are tired of listening to rock music, Takk...is another unique sound for you. For certain moment after listening to Takk..., You may think you don't wanna listen to other music, Takk gives you so much that you don't wanna destroy the mood, the feeling and the atmosphere of Takk. Go and buy it, you won't be disappointed!
p.s. if you get a chance, catch Sigur Ros live, they are so amazing! I missed their only one show in Hong Kong before and now I regret for not going after listening to Takk...
on 18 May 2006
To all you people out there who were wondering where that "piece of music" came from while listening to the Planet Earth advert, you will already have found yourself here, and that piece of music is called Hoppipolla, on track 3, of this fabulous album by Sigur Ros.
This is the most amazing album I've heard in the last 15 years. Full Stop. I want everyone who has just heard of Sigur Ros and thought to themselves, I need to find out more, to read this piece of advice/review and go and buy this album, you won't be disappointed.
It's a roller coaster ride, each track can put you into a certain place, depending on you're mood, and where you want to escape to. Essentially it's a beautifully sounding album, but its so much more than that. Let yourself go, feel the music, it's unlike anything you will come across easily in today's music climate, an album like this has to be found, and when discovered, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
In terms of which song is the "best", I prefer to listen to this album as a whole; I certainly wouldn't give it a disservice and put it on random on my hi-fi. If one track stands out, it has to be Milano, which could quite easily break you're heart.
The nearest thing I can compare this album with has to be The Division Bell by Pink Floyd. I say this purely because the DB, despite myself being around 16 years of age at the time, stuck with me, and still does, as being a great piece of music, and just different from what I was listening to in the charts. Takk comes across as being different, and as an alternative in 2005-06.
If I had my way, everyone should have this masterpiece.
on 25 February 2007
I have to say before i bought this album i had never heard of the band before, however i have to say now its the only album i put on, on a sunday afternoon or when flying some place nice.
It may take some getting used to, but there again i feel OK Computer did by radio head and that was voted one of the best albums ever.!!!
Just have one more listen and let your self go, if you like Radiohead or the older Run rig, this band may be for you. Battered but beautiful in its own enevloping way this bands music will have you drifting to somewhere where your mind wants to be... I love them.
on 8 February 2010
Sigur Rós changed my life. No other artist has ever meant so much to me, except for maybe Neil Young.
For me, their music has such a universal aura to it; evoking strong feelings of love, sadness, regret, joy. Everything. The emotion and beauty conveyed is just so pure and so true that it becomes much more affecting than the majority of music out there.
Stand outs on this album are:
'Takk...' - The seemingly subtle title track. One of my all time favourites.
'Glósóli' - A climactic, invigorating follow up.
'Með Blóðnasir' - Magical, joyful. Stunning bass.
'Mílanó' - A heart breaking haze of strings opens this breathtaking song.
'Svo Hljótt' - An epic slow burner.
'Heysátan' - Wonderful, simple, warming end to the album.
Obviously a 5/5 rating from me. I strongly urge you to buy this album, and their others for that matter.
Listen to it, feel it.
on 15 April 2006
Up till now, I had been listening to Sigur Ros solely on the tracks I downloaded from the internet. These were great, and was the reason I was a little nervous about buying Takk. T'was hard of me to see how an album could match the individual tracks
I was wrong. I was more wrong than thought possible. It was delivered today and I have been listening to it almost non-stop since then. Not since the first time I listened to OK Computer have I felt this way about an album.
Each song is constructed with brilliance and care. Each song is beautiful and amazing. Each song makes me glad that I brought this album. Each song makes me want to thank you lot for introducing me to them. But that's not the best bit.
This album flows perfectly. Each song flows and blends in with the next. The first song sets up the second song brilliantly, and the way Glosoli just smoothly flows into Hoppipolla made me realise that this wasn't any ordanary album I was listening to. And what's more amazing is that it carries on. On most albums there are tracks which you could take away and no-one would mind or notice. Not here. Although I was a bit wary of the length at first, once I started listening to it I could think of a million reasons to keep it this way and not one to change it.
If you haven't got it, buy it. Buy it now. I'm off now to see whether I can afford Ágætis byrjun.
on 9 April 2006
Hopelandic, Icelandic it makes no difference..the music is quite simply stunning. "Hoppipolla" (or "Jumpin/Hoppin in Puddles" as is translated) is only one of many reasons i have fallen totally in love with Sigur Ros. The pace and mood of Takk flows so elequently it will almost certainly raise a few hairs or bring a tear to the eye, such is the effect of their music. Previous albums have shown that this group are not only consistently beautiful but also progressively magical. Natural beauty (in the realm of music) is a rare and precious thing..lets hope its looked after with due care. For it is hope, that this Icelandic group brings not just to music, but more importantly, brings to life.
Takk...Sigur Ros :-)
on 1 July 2007
Having never heard or read any press reviews of this album I, unlike most, had no prior preconceptions of Sigur Ros' offering. Having given up the weed a long time ago too ;-) I headed out on my voyage of discovery and have ended up in a rather pleasant place. Serene, uplifting and dreamy the music washes over in waves with a good dollop of turbulence here and there (during Saeglopur for example) to spice things up.
In contrast to their earlier work Takk is definitely more accessible but this does not dilute it's appeal or make it any less of an album. The tracks are shorter too but there is much great music and I disagree with the previous chap that this isn't a good album to just 'listen' to. The album is positively packed with a level of musicality and depth that is desperately missing from much of today's music. Sé Lest, Saeglopur, Andvari and Svo Hljótt are fine examples of this and are amongst my personal faves.
If you're new to Sigur Ros and are not sure then check out their website or borrow the CD from the library. In most cases I think a purchase will be impending. Enjoy!!
on 17 September 2005
I like albums that seem to suggest their own unique little universe, where the sound, style and overall presentation offer us a window into said universe, and a clue to further understanding the themes and motifs featured therein. Now, this may sound a little over-emotive to some, but I feel that Sigur Ros, with their strange soundscapes and beguiling use of instrumentation, really invite such reactions, with previous albums like Von and Agaetis Byrjun showing them to be one of the most unique, distinctive and imaginative bands currently at work.
Takk is no exception... continuing the sound of their second and third albums to create a musical amalgamation, meaning that the sound of Takk is both fragile and abrasive, with the songs continually shifting tempo and momentum to go from delicate ambience to epic, heart-breaking noise, and then back again. It's a strange album even by the band's previous standards, featuring a sound that is much more minimal and restrained than 2003's "brackets" album, with the more rock-like songs that made up the second half of that great work really being relegated in favour of more obscure sounds; with electronic pulses, blips and synthetic strings taking over from the distorted guitar noise and nonsense harmonies. Of course, the vocals will still be nonsense to those of us that don't speak Icelandic... though, it must be said that as with their last album, we still get the emotional intention of the songs through the evocative use of instrumentation, and the raw vocal power of lead-singer Jonsi.
As with Agaetis Byrjun and "brackets", Takk is an album best listened to from beginning to end, as ultimately, all the songs end up blurring into one another and thus, creating one long and lovely piece of work that moves forward and progresses naturally. Opening with the title track; an extended piece of atmospherics that blurs seamlessly into the lulled and intoxicating Glosoli - a song that couples a gentle music-box melody with sound effects that seem to suggest heavy boots marching on cobbles, as those angelic vocals croon ambient choral noise throughout - this could (and should) be seen as the next logical step forward for a band that have already pushed the musical limitations to breaking point. The album is continually interesting, especially when some of the songs end up incorporating pop-melodies and more melodic ideas, like those fantastic horn arrangements towards the end of Se Lest, or the orchestration that pops up throughout.
Saeglopur is one of the most stunning pieces of music that the band has ever created... beginning with some delicate piano and a cacophony of different processed vocal harmonies, it eventually metamorphoses into something much more volatile, with immense percussion and a wall of distorted guitars blazing away, as the lulled vocals continue without change. In terms of the overall mood and atmosphere that is created by the unexpected shifts in tempo, as the song once again breaks down into something more ambient towards the end, is easily on a par with the last two albums released by British band Talk Talk, principally speaking, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. It also reminds me of the last two Björk albums, Vespertine and Medulla, with many of the songs here, particularly that Eno-esque opening track, sounding like the missing instrumental takes of the largely a-capella Medulla (songs like Volkuro and Show Me Forgiveness really wouldn't sound out of place here), whilst it also brings to mind the more minimal moments of Radiohead's Kid A and Amnesiac records.
Track seven, Milano, has a similar structure to the song that came before, beginning with a gentle melody bolstered by the ambient-lite production, before the whole thing takes off into a more epic phase... only to pull back again towards the end for the lengthy and almost instrumental coda, which again takes off into the same epic territory moments before the song slows down to a close for the real climax. There's no 'half album quite/half album loud' concept here, the songs mutate from minute to minute, incorporating a variety of different musical textures that cover everything from rock, to jazz and classical, with hints of ambient-electronic music making itself known in the production and overall atmospherics, whilst you can even finds elements of world music, orchestral music and gospel. Gong is another highlight; a song that pushes the Talk Talk/Radiohead influence to it's fullest, whilst also building on the sound of the Sigur Ros albums that came before. There's an obvious jazz-influence in the use of percussion, which juxtaposes nicely with the subtle use of strings, the sweeping vocals and the great use of guitar.
The closing run of songs is great, continuing the sound of the preceding tracks and establishing a sound that is cohesive and continually interesting, with each song merging into the next, bringing to mind the sound and overall sense of emotional transcendence of their last album, which is still my favourite, despite both Agaetis Byrjun and this coming exceedingly close. The final song, Heysatan is transcendent beauty at it's most intoxicating, bringing this strange and beautiful little album to a close perfectly and, perhaps, pointing it's way forward to a new phase in the career of Sigur Ros.
on 8 December 2006
This album is one of the best albums I have bought for a long time. Whenever i am feeling down this is the only album that makes me forget the world and my troubles and completely relax...it takes me to a place NO other piece of music has ever managed!
I have had it for a while and have just been reading the reviews on it. To the people saying that they should sing in English and not icelandic YOU ARE WRONG!!! Isn't that the beauty of the album...that you are left wondering what they are saying...it would sound no where near as good sung in English! In my opinion i would not have paid them any attention if they sung in English because they would have sounded like any other classical rock band! The charm was that they did not sing in English!
Ok, so if you are bored with the (literally) hundreds of English singing bands out there and want something that can pick you up and take you to a far away place, to another world if you like, you should buy this album! If you are egotistic and think any band that does not sing in English does not deserve a right to be played on your stereo buy it anyway because you will be proved wrong!