Sigur Ros – Kveikur
Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros are back with their seventh studio album Kveikur (translated as “candlewick”) – the band’s first album as a trio after bidding keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson’s farewell last year. The three, who describe their new album as “more aggressive” than their previous ambient works, released lead single Brennisteinn (“brimstone”) on 25th March along with an eight-minute music video, and embarked on a world tour promoting Kveikur earlier this year. The new, nine-track album was recently made available for streaming on the Sigur Ros website and we couldn’t resist tuning in to their new dark and heavy sounds.
The latest album is similar enough to past works to be unmistakably Sigur Ros, but all the while different enough to be refreshing and interesting. There is still the trademark bowed guitar and Jonsi’s airy falsetto vocals in Brennisteinn, but the aggressive, industrial, distorted sounds create a chilling sense of impending darkness that is almost menacing. Jonsi has decided to ditch his self-created language of “Hopelandic” in previous albums and the lyrics are now in Icelandic.
Isjaki (“iceberg”), the third track on the album has a “chamber rock” feel to it and, like the aforementioned single, is much less ambient in contrast with other works. Jonsi sighs “Iceberg you knew about me, I knew about you, we always knew that this would end” (translated to English here) amid the haunting melody.
Closing track Var brings the apocalyptic battle that is Kveikur to an end. Having eradicated any expectations of serenity from Sigur Ros, the track embodies an eerie stillness after the storm.
It goes without saying that there is fantastic musicianship throughout, as expected from Jonsi and friends, but we didn’t anticipate this new aggression – and it really rather suits them!
Kveikur is released on 17th June 2013. For further information or to order the album visit Sigur Ros’s website here.
Watch the video for Brennisteinn here: