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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Sigur Rós
( )
Fat Cat Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Iceland's Sigur Rós' newest album, their MCA debut, doesn't have a name and it doesn't have any song titles. Artsy and pretentious pandering, perhaps, but somehow it's okay. Somehow it makes sense. Would it really matter anyway, given that presumably the titles would be written in Hopelandish, the nonsensical, made-up language in which vocalist/guitarist Jonsi Thor Birgisson sings in his waiflike manner, high above the swirling e-bowed guitars and glacial paced brushed snares? This new album, denoted by ( ), is much more orchestral and spaced farther apart than their last effort, Agaetis Byrjun. It is a thing of beauty and open moments, a nod-inducing indulgence for the space cadet side of your gray matter.

In the beginning, there was a soothing piano, over which gradual layers of guitar, bass and whispering drums would build, followed by the pixieish voice of Jonsi, evoking feelings and sensations through his soprano, almost falsetto utterances. And it was good. The saga would continue into the second track, a slowcore tune like something Low would do if they were Icelandic and not Mormon. Track number five would enter your fuzz with brushed drums and Jonsi's plaintive vocals, building and building until it began to… rock? Is it possible? If it is, remember that 'rock' can be such a subjective term, and here we are 'rocked' by an emotive climax at eight minutes that lasts about fifty-two seconds before falling back inside of itself. And it was still good. The tracks would flow into each other, with a thirty second lapse in the middle, perhaps in the spirit of an LP break, where you can imagine that you are turning the record over to squeeze what you can out of the second side.

Sigur Rós gets the celebrity accolades - Brad Pitt and Beck are fans. Radiohead handpicked them to open some tour dates. They were the recipients of the Shortlist Award last year in Los Angeles. But you aren't thinking about all of that when you listen to ( ). You are somewhere else, maybe in a long dream flight above the Icelandic black sand coasts, effortlessly swooping over volcanic cones and ashen faces. And it is good.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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