It has been a long journey since we all wondered who “Sigur Ros “ were and just exactly what was going on with Agaetis Byrjun ¡. The second album (after the stunning Von”) is seeped in Icelandic Mystery, unspoiled by expectation, fresh as a Reykjavik morning and although seemingly “quiet” and “ambient” pulsed with a hidden raw
“punkishness” that was quite difficult for anyone south of Iceland to “get”.
But we did and we took those four charming and seemingly naive Icelandic musicians into our hearts.
From that humble beginning, all ripped jeans, distressed converse boots and shy looks Sigur Ros have, without selling out, matured beautifully.
There have been the solo projects and films and with the almost up tempo With a Buzz in our Ears... released about four years ago when Jonsi was proclaiming they were going to have fun (which they did and so did the fans). Everything they produce is accompanied by sumptuous artwork that oozes a minimal beauty and compliments the band’s sound.
Sigur Ros were headlining festivals and selling out venues everywhere.
All goes quiet, four years pass, the live set Inni, a treasure to experience, kept fans sane until a few months ago rumours began to surface of a new record.
And here it is!
“Worth the wait” you ask?
Valtari is the sound of elegant maturity. What we have is trademark vintage Sigur Ros. Soaring angelic choirs, Jonsi’s fragile and muted voice tangle with electronic drones and pulses. Minimal and magical, cinematic and often almost ecclesiastical in it’s reverence, Valtari swoops and soars inhabiting soundscapes that only Sigur Ros can produce as the album unfolds and allows the listener to be caressed and enveloped in the fragility.
The innocence of youth found on Agaetis Byrjun has journeyed far and arrived at Valtari an album of epic and unhurried presence .The power to move the spirit and cause a shiver down the spine is still there, yes, this is majestic.
No doubt Valtari will be loved and also hated for just that, but, hey, Sigur Ros are from Iceland. They do what they please.
No one makes music like this , many have tried valiantly and just fallen short .
I am giving “Valtari” 10/10 folks because nobody does it better.
Words: Keith How