When listening to Icelandic postrock outfit Sigur Ros, it’s easy to conjure up romantic images of their homeland: frosted clouds framing a cobalt sky, ice monoliths frozen stoically over ancient lava plains, muffled blasts of the geothermal powerhouse deep below. These postcard shots may have held no influence over the foursome from Reykjavik, but their music is undeniably as blue, blissful and baffling as the landscape.
Sigur Ros (“Victory Rose” in Icelandic) play experimental chamber-rock with slow-burning intensity and dense, cavernous atmospherics. Amid the minimal drumming and cathedral organ, vocalist Jon Thor Birgisson pulls a cello bow across his electric guitar while vocal effects flutter around a doleful piano. When Birgisson sings, his mesmerizing falsetto sounds like something between a choirboy and a very, very lonely whale. Although they are often tagged as the next Radiohead, it was the supergroup’s vocalist, Thom Yorke, who said Sigur Ros’ earlier work laid the groundwork for the lugubrious analog purr “Kid-A.”
Read the full review at The Japan Times Online.