Monday, September 12, 2005

Sigur Rós / Takk / Rating 7.8

All the stuff in bold are quotes taken from the PFM Sigur Ros review

1) I would like to read a review about Sigur Ros or any other band from Iceland that does not mention Bjork.

2) “the mythology of Iceland-- of staggering literacy and longevity, of Björk, of Reykjavik, of volcanoes and fisheries and giant slabs of ice-- became the mythology of Sigur Rós.” Iceland stopped being mysterious after the Sugarcubes toured the states and spread their pixie dust damaged pop from coast to coast in the late 80's.

Their mythology also runs a little deeper than their capital, a natural resource and an untouched by time landscape. Written in the 12th and 13th century The Iceland Sagas tell a very lengthy supernatural infused portraits of Viking life / Iceland’s history broken down into 40 family sagas and 50 shorter tales. The Viking history and culture influence our modern world more than anyone would probably ever guess.

3.“The mystery melted, the fascination faltered, and the animated, barstool retellings of The Sigur Rós Story died down.” Sigur Rós has a very dedicate fan base who talk about their music like others in the jock world talk about their favorite sports team. I guess fringe music fans that were once wooed by Iceland for all its magic and wonder have moved onto Norway now? Canada?

I think any band working one a third, fourth or fifth release battle the same issue. Music fans seems to have a shorter attention span than ever and if a person buys more than two of any bands recordings these days, it’s a minor miracle. Being close to the world of music retail, trust me, Sigur Rós fans buy EVERYTHING and follow the band on tour in a tradition once reserved for those in VW vans only.

4) FYI - Takk = thanks in Icelandic
While I am at it: Here is a translation of the tracks from a fan message board.

1.Takk ... (Thanks)
2. Glósóli (not really a word, but kind of means "glowing sun", personified)
3. Hoppi Pollar (again, not a real phrase, but it's like a young child saying "hopping into puddles")4. Með Blóðnasir (Nosebleed)
5. Sé Lest (I see a train)
6. Sæglópur (Lost at Sea)
7. Mílanó
8. Gong
9. Andvari (Zephyr/gentle breeze)
10. Svo Hljótt (So Quiet)
11. Heysátan (Stack of Hay)

5)“better than the otherworldly blubbers they're so casually accused of” : I have no idea what this means.

6) “Ultimately, Takk is a warmer, more orchestral take on the band's defining sound, and easily their most instantly accessible record to date” Agreed but this is also the the first studio recording to really capture the power of SR's live performances.

7)“shockingly, over a third of the album's songs clock in at under five minutes each.” Fear not there are still plenty of 8 – 10 minute songs too.

8) “Birgisson's lyrics are especially incidental, all barely-audible squeals and sighs.” Did we listen to the same record? There are vocals are all over this cd. They go beyond the concept of a voice playing the role of a secondary instrument.They skydive monumentally from great heights. His melodies ride playfully on top of enormous orchestrations, out front and for all to hear. I am not kidding there is nothing passive and background about the singing at all. This is actually as close to a traditional vocal set up as this band will probably every get. I would also like to add that there is an abundance of full choral accents to many of the songs... raising the value of the human voice to this release ten fold.

9) “Takk just sounds like Sunday morning Sigur Rós, all yawns and sleepy grins and quick yanks at the curtains.” I can’t listen to something with such enormous swells, something as tempormental as peek-a-boo sunshine on a day when clouds keep turning warm light on and off… and not be moved deeply. Maybe some people associate strings and an orchestra with sleepy boredom but on the contrary it adds a complex and rich dynamic that would be impossible to achieve with a normal band. If you find yourself listless listening to Takk I suspect your friends need to check your body for a pulse.

10) "Glosoli" is the record's shining center, a rapturous, tinkling swirl, with Birgisson's high, squeaky howls (sounding perfectly thin and kitten-y)” Can I ask again…did PFM listen to this record? Birgisson is practically belting on some of these songs (like track 7) mind you it is a falsetto belt but its powerful and comes from a place deep in his chest. Think finger on a wine glass edge, a crisp clean high tones, sonic and lovely.

11) “Takk proves that Sigur Rós can, in fact, transcend their own legend.” I give up, the review on the whole is rather complimentary yet it still got a 7.8.

12) It’s a gorgeous record. It deserves your attention immediately. It deserves a 9 or better.