Sigur Rós, formed in 1994, in Iceland, have, so far, remained pretty unknown outside their native country. But, since London-based record label Fat-Cat have first heard of them, during a party organised by Gus Gus, things seem to be set to change. After releasing a couple of singles, Fat-Cat is now presenting the first Sigur Rós album to be released outside of Iceland, Ágætis Byrjun, which translate as Good Beginning. This record, their second proper album, was originally released last year, and has remained in the highest positions in their national charts. Describing the music of Sigur Rós is not an easy task. Reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine, without the arty complex, or Spiritualized, without the drug syndrome, the compositions are completely devoid of pretension, and are so much fresher, more ensuthiastic and sincere. These comparisons though are too restrictive indeed. The characteristic of the songs is that they all start so quietly and go on to an impressive coda, where guitars, strings and, sometimes choirs join forces to a powerful end, bringing the listeners to their knees. Just as impressive and powerful is the high-flying voice of singer Jón Þór Birgisson. In turn masculine, feminine or asexual, his gravity defying voice puts him in the same league as Liz Fraser, with whom he share singing both in his native language and in some invented idiom, which doesn't make much difference anyway if you don't understand Icelandic! This gives to the songs a very eerie feeling, and have you spellbound to the end. Sigur Rós have produced with Ágætis Byrjun, a magnificent album, full of emotion, soul, and light. In a nutshell, Ágætis Byrjun is one of the most intense albums ever recorded. It is a masterpiece.