Sigur Ros: Kveikur/Candlewick (XL)

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Sigur Ros: Stormur
Sigur Ros: Kveikur/Candlewick (XL)

After this Icelandic post-rock group's singer Jonsi did his more pop-rock album Go in 2010 during the band's hiatus, it might have been expected some of that filter into their glacial if sometimes dramatic sound, but their excellent Valtari of last year mostly continued along their singular path.

And despite them promising this one would be more aggressive there's only occasional supporting evidence.

The electrostatic and thunderous sound of the almost-eight minute opener Brenninsteinn/Brimstone might suggest a muscular vigour which had previously been absent, but it immediately resolves into something approaching that widescreen pop landscape of Go before most of the album – the abrasive title track another notable exception – resolves into more of their translucent, ethereal and largely familiar style.

What is noticeable here isn't more aggression but rather the paucity of their previous grandeur. Now a three-piece, they certainly range into some different and disconcerting sonics in places (the guitar textures of Rafstraumur/Electric Current), but by close of play much of this has drawn attention to itself for emotional turbulence then just as quickly lost it in vaporous material.

A transitional album perhaps, but not an essential one.

For more on Sigur Ros albums and DVDs at Elsewhere see here

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