Sigur Rós – Valtari
Sigur Rós are back with a predictably large and soaring album Valtari.
This album offers an insight into the minds of its creators. The haunting melodies impart an unsettling aura of isolation and euphoria. It comes across as a humble masterpiece, and although it may be simplistic and shy in parts, it’s the frill-absent approach that crafts Valtari’s enchanting and alluring pull. It is an album of atmospheric beauty, which quietly echoes intimacy and introspection making the eight track effort wholly captivating.
Opening track Ég Anda makes its impact delicately like smudged fingerprints on glass. The eerie guitar lines float like whispered incantations, only slightly muffled by the light murmur of falsetto vocals. It’s sparse, but throbs with a dark and ominous undercurrent to form something magnificently hypnotic.
Ekki múkk is like your best daydream become song. Along with its haunting quality, there’s a sense of bleak pensiveness throughout – both show how truly intriguing and exhilarating the track is.
Dauðalogn is flush with tender choral phrases and melancholy ostinatos, resulting in a landscape that is more hospitable and warming than any of the previous tracks dared to be. It glimmers and sparks falsetto lifts, which enhances the track into a more futuristic sounding plain. Sigur Rós sew exquisite instrumentation together with not only a knowledgeable, pristine design, but with the otherworldly conflict of fragility and dominance within front man Jónsi Birgisson’s voice.
The choral and meditative quality seems to be a theme that runs through all of Sigur Rós’s work. It’s their formula for creating the enchanting grip that enthrals every listener. Each track on Valtari is dark and voluptuous. They combine to create a mythical world where the cynicism and corruption of our own modern day society is unable to dwell. Valtari is a pleasurable voyage into a better, distant world.
Closing track Fjögur píanó does just this. The warm, enveloping, solemn spell blossoms into life with a collage of warped harmonic noise. This is a deeply rich, heavily layered concoction of sounds that transports you into an alienating void.
Valtari is an impressive album, perhaps their best yet.
Listen to the standout track Fjogur Píanó here: