on 17 June 2013
Sigur Ros are not mega mega famous, but those in the music industry know all about them and have done so for many years now.
Their fans are a loyal bunch and i place myself in that group, and over the years since i first heard Von played on vinyl i have been mesmerised by their sound.
So naturally Kveikur was a hotly anticipated album, even moreso with the departure of Kjartan and Sigur Ros teasing their fans with new songs on their current European and American tour, giving us unforgettable performances of Brennisteinn, Hrafnatinna, Kveikur and the sublime Yfirborð, the latter of which was the opener to the tour.
This new album is darker than anything they ever did, though Von still trumps all of them in the scary stakes, but Kveikur is so much more different. See, Sigur Ros have now grown up, and their sound has evolved to reflect this change, which seems a natural progression after the stillness of Valtari, or the poppy energy from Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust.
But for fans of sigur ros, new and old, this album will NOT dissapoint, yes it is more aggressive in places, more industrial sounding, even sexy in places, but its still very much a classic Sigur Ros, or will be eventually.
I wont give a track by track account of this album but i will point out the highlights, the biggest being how each song flows naturally to the next giving the listener yet another musical journey into the netherworld of Sigur Ros's collective hive mind, the first 4 songs from the album have been heard many times even before the release of the album, Bren, hraf and Yfirborð have been playded throughout their recent live shows, and Isjaki was released recently on the Sigur Ros website, so the first new song we properly hear is Stormur. Upon hearing Stormur we begin to realize that Sigur Ros may have saved the best til last, however there is nothing wrong with the first four songs, they are stunning but already familiar.
Stormur however, wow, typical sigur ros epicness, Stormur sounds like it came from the album Takk, which i know is a firm fan favourite and every album since has been compared to Takk, rightly or wrongly.
Rafstraumur did not dissapoint either, neither does Bláþráður or Var.
As usual, Jonsi and his band of merry men have produced a masterpiece of musical wonderment, an album which will stand the test of time. Kveikur firmly places this band at the top of the tree now, and despite their success they still remain as grounded and as inventive and creative as they ever have been.
That said, this album is a different beast which should excite all who happen to come across it, be them fans of sigur ros, die hard fans of sigur ros, or those who have heard Hippopola and want to hear more. This is still Sigur Ros, of course it is!
Crucially, this album takes you away for a while, and brings you back gently as breathtakingly beautiful instrumental track Var plays out quietly. Kveikur is a damn fine album, many highlights, and some vivid memories for those lucky enough to catch them on their recent tour, myself included. I do have a minor confession to make, i have been listening to the album on the live stream on the sigur ros website, so i was quite familiar with it already even before it came out.
It seems the majority of twitter agree with me, #kveikur is throwing up non stop praise from those fans who are listening to this new album, calling it awesome, mindblowing, out of this world... Its all this and more. For those fans who have not heard their new material yet, your in for a treat, this will blow you away.
Thank you Jonsi, Georg and Orri, and all those who play a part in making this stunning work of art. My ears are a happier place for yur music.