x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sigur Rós: Kveikur

A vigorous new beginning for Sigur Rós, harnessing the heavier, more visceral vibe that concludes their bigger live sets.

Sigur Rós
Kveikur
(XL)
****

Gargantuan record sales are all well and good, but a more exclusive measure of success is an invitation to appear on The Simpsons. Sigur Rós were given the yellow cartoon treatment last month, albeit after the most difficult period of their two-decade career; the gifted Icelanders’ 2012 album Valtari had a painful genesis, received a lukewarm response and precipitated the departure of the founder member Kjartan Sveinsson. Thankfully, Kveikur signals a vigorous new beginning, harnessing the heavier, more visceral vibe that concludes their bigger live sets. From the almost eight-minute Brennisteinn onwards, this sixth studio album is a compelling collision of the abrasive and beautiful, exemplified by the title track, on which Jónsi Birgisson’s uniquely angelic vocals soar across a sinister techno-rock landscape. A horn section brings similar light and shade to the wonderful Hrafntinna, veering from the sound of an evil orchestra tuning up to a coda of blissful parping, while Stormur and Rafstraumur’s propulsive riffs might even appeal to fans of commercial pop-metal. Kveikur could well be the album that finally rids this hugely successful band of their cult status.

artslife@thenational.ae

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