Sigur Ros' new album comes out on the 23rd June, entitled 'Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust' (with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly) and it's great. I got into Sigur Ros very slowly. I was able to download a few tracks from the Agaetis Bryjun album for free back in 2004, but then when I heard Takk on the NME player in 2005, I was blown away. Since then I have been a massive fan.
Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust is a big surprise but still a great album. What's surprising is its immediacy, openness and poppiness. Normally, you would expect stately sparse beauty from Sigur Ros, but opening track Gobbledygook's acoustic gallop catches you off guard and then inní mér syngur vitleysingur sounds like Pet Sounds era Beach Boys. They manage to still sound like Sigur Ros, but unashamedly happy.
góðan daginn is perhaps more what you would describe as business as normal in it's post-rock prettyness, but the feedback has been dialled down and there's a tenderness to the sound. However, við spilum endalaust is the weakest track of the album as the one moment where the happy pills overdose into a track that sounds too close to Coldplay.
Festival changes the mood though by further stripping back the sound and allowing jonsi's vocals to shine before launching back into a lo-fi instrumental that will indeed sound amazing at festivals. Suð í eyrum keeps things mellow and they've found that great drum sound again that sounded like fireworks on starafalur.
However, all the subtle loveliness of suð í eyrum gets completely trumped by ára bátur. This is not just the best track of the album and perhaps the greatest song Sigur Ros have ever written, it's rites of passage music. If I was 10 years younger, I would want it for my wedding, if I were 50 years older, I would happily have it playing as the curtains closed.
The only negative thing that you could say about ara batur is that it makes the rest of the album seem a little anti-climactic. Which is unfair as the unassuming acousticness of illgresi, the gentleness of fljótavík which melts into straumnes and the quiet finishing track all alright are all fine in their own right. They are just not orchestra and choir chewing masterpieces of pop music.
með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust is just great. It's the most accessible and fun Sigur Ros album to date. It's still true to the band's sound, but the guarded cool has been let down. It should sell millions and you will hear excerpts on every tv show for the next year, but so what, Hoppipolli still sounds great today and this album will last the test of time and overplaying. This is easily the album of the year, with a stand out track of genuine beauty.
It's out on 23rd June, but you can listen now here.