Album review: Sigur Ros, Kveikur/Candlewick

By Graham Reid

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Sigur Ros. Photo / NZ Herald
Sigur Ros. Photo / NZ Herald

After this Icelandic post-rock group's singer Jonsi did his more pop-rock album Go in 2010, during the band's hiatus, it might have been expected some of that would filter into their glacial if sometimes dramatic sound, but their excellent Valtari of last year mostly continued along their singular path. And despite them promising more aggression, there's little supporting evidence.

The electrostatic, thunderous sound of the almost-eight-minute opener Brenninsteinn/Brimstone might suggest a muscular vigour that had previously been absent, but it immediately resolves into something approaching that widescreen pop landscape of Go before most of the album - the abrasive title track another notable exception - resolves into more of their translucent, ethereal and largely familiar style. What is noticeable here isn't more aggression but rather the paucity of their previous grandeur. Now a three-piece, they certainly range into some different and disconcerting sonics in places (the guitar textures of Rafstraumur/Electric Current), but by close of play much of this has drawn attention to itself for emotional turbulence then just as quickly lost it.

Stars: 3.5/5
Verdict: Almost business as unusual but fewer dramatics on their seventh studio album
Click here to buy Kveikur by Sigur Ros.

- elsewhere.co.nz / TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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