These ghosts have been searching for centuries. They have lurked in the darkness and the shadow for some kind of medium. Some way of making their presence known to us. These ghosts have felt anger, sadness, hope, tragic disappointment and desolation, loneliness. Eons of waiting for someone to let them out has amplified their fixations as they festered in the unknown, but finally someone has heard them. Their message is being translated into the raw, overwhelming emotion. Words cannot evoke the power within isolated thought, so Sigur Ros turned to music. Music designed to capture the call of aching spirits who long for release. Kveikur comes crashing out of the void with a vengeance.
Moaning strings, spirited horns, echoing arrangements, screaming bowed guitars, and of course, ethereal voices from out of the void. Kveikur is an evolving trip that leaves no emotion untouched. For the first time in Sigur Ros’ career, they have produced something that I could actually call dark and angry, but that certainly does not make up the entirety of the record. Due for release on June 18th, Kveikur differs immensely from previous albums, but remains true to their unique post-rock sound that could only originate in a place as surreal and separated as Iceland. This record is much more rhythmically focused than their classic works of genius, Agaetis Byrjun and Takk…, with percussion that drives the power found within each track. At the same time, some of the pop leanings found in Jonsi’s solo record can be found on Kveikur, and as a result the album is one of their more accessible releases.
The departure of multi-instrumentalist and arranger Kjartan Sveinsson left many with concerns about what this would do to the Sigur Ros sound. There is no doubt the music has changed drastically, but any worries that the band would no longer benefit from the exquisitely beautiful layering can be quickly put to rest (unlike the aforementioned ghosts). I honestly feel that after the somewhat disappointing and low-key Valtari, Kveikur is refreshing in its drama and intensity. I firmly believe that this is the band’s greatest effort since Takk…
Sigur Ros had a kind of mantra that titled a recent album, and that I feel very succinctly represented the band. With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly. After a few years of (somewhat ironic) hiatus, they have returned full-force in a world tour that has been going for months and shows no sign of slowing. I caught them at the Bell Centre in Montreal, although within minutes I no longer felt like I was in the home of the Montreal Canadiens. Instead I was transported completely into a sonic bubble in which I had no sense of time. Things seemed to pass so quickly, and yet I could hang onto every moment of that show with such clarity. With their rapidly growing popularity, it wouldn’t surprise me to be seeing them in North America again before too long.
Good news audiophiles! Kveikur is streaming in full until the album is released. Go listen to it! NOW!!! Sigur Ros has released the ghosts of the netherworld, they must not be ignored any longer.