Sigur Rós

Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust| EMI
By SHARON STEEL  |  July 1, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
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Sigur Rós’s music has always struck a delicate balance between indescribable sadness and absolute joy, and lead singer Jónsi Birgisson’s æthereal “Hopelandic” non-language — a weird and wonderful amalgam of Icelandic, English, and gibberish — is the band’s emotive vessel. When Birgisson sings, he sounds by turns like a howling, desperate kitten and a one-man choir of angels. This is also true of the band’s instrumentals. Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (“With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly”), their fifth studio album, continues this legacy with a neatly contained shift from ecstasy to mournfulness. The disc opens with “Gobbledigook” — think dancing sprites in a sun-dappled forest; that’s followed by “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur” (“With me a lunatic sings”), the closest thing Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust has to a pop anthem. But the sad cobwebs aren’t brushed away for long: horns and merry xylophone trills give way to funereal chimes, guitars with cave echoes, and Birgisson’s forever-aching wails. Here, as on 2005’s Takk, Sigur Rós have chosen to distill their rapture epics into shorter, more accessible bursts of swelling beauty. Yet this album still offers all the signature touchstones that make the band so deliciously unlike their post-rock contemporaries.
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