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Jonsi: Go

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Rating: 4/5
Verdict: All systems go on solo outing by Sigur Ros frontman

Go. Photo / Supplied
Go. Photo / Supplied

If the pacey pop of Sigur Ros' last album, Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust and this solo debut by the Icelandic band's frontman, Jonsi Birgisson, is anything to go by, then the trademark sonic glacier of sound they made their name on has started to break up into shimmering shards of sparkling and excitable music.

That's on first impressions anyway. Boy Lilikoi is as perfect as coy pop can get; Animal Arithmetic has a celebratory and breathless gallop to it and the hammering beat of Go-Do is balanced out by Birgisson's other-worldly vocal range and some delightful whistles.

But there are more slow-burning moments too, like the voice, piano and strings refrain of Tornado and the soaring sadness of Sinking Friendships.

Grow Till Tall is the highlight - recalling the volatile beauty of Sigur Ros' 1999 classic Agtis Byrjun - as its faint morse code bleeps and glacial movements build into a pummelling and destructive din like broken glass and metal splinters being churned up in a musical smelter.

Go is similar to the soundtrack of chase movie Run Lola Run or a Bourne movie, because it's thrilling, heart-pounding, and you never know what's likely to happen next. The only differences are the many and varied beautiful bits Birgisson throws in.

It's an astonishing and rare sound indeed, but what makes it so good is that it's not too over-the-top and the songs are left to unfold and evolve at their will.

-Scott Kara

- NZ Herald

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