Sigur Ros Returns With ‘Atta’ After Ten Years: Album Review


Those with long memories may remember when the music of Icelandic ethereal combo Sigur Ros first began to seep onto these shores at the turn of this century – perhaps on Napster or Limewire or on a CD burnt out after Radiohead’s Thom Yorke started mentioning them in interviews. . a friend who has one of his hard-to-find imports even in metropolitan areas.

Hearing them for the first time was like traveling to a different musical planet under the guidance of a vocalist named Jonsi, who sang in both Icelandic and an invented language on lush, loud, glorious music that evoked National Geographic landscapes and summoned purple prose from critics. . even more flamboyant than the line you just read. While its influences certainly were – the Cocteau Twins, Eno, electronic music and soundtracks – Sigur Ros was definitely like no other, and the band’s sound (and lineup) evolved in the early 2000s and beyond, merging orchestras into one album, rock. -centric structures in the next, ambiance in the next, yet they clearly remain.

The group reached some sort of commercial peak with 2005’s “Takk” and “Hoppipola”, a single with great tunes and a triumphant coda that could have been a monumental movie song if it had a more traditional vocal. Known language lyrics aside, their unconventional style didn’t put them in this category, as their music has been used in dozens of movies and television shows (including the brilliantly dazzling 2006 BBC’s “Planet Earth”). nature series).

“Atta” is the band’s first album in a decade, but within the first minute, you’re drowning in one of Sigur Ros’ most magnificent sound-baths to date—a distant chorus-like sound, a booming orchestra, and the backward, sped-up sound flying wordlessly. Anyone from the band who yearns for a new album will find exactly what they’ve been hoping for – and it goes on for almost another hour for ten songs, but it’s often hard to tell where it is, for example where “Skel” ends and “”Kettur” begins: The band just finished the album as a single song. it was intended to be heard in the long stream (although parts have been segregated on streaming services), and it ebbs and flows like a time-lapse nature video of changing seasons or sunrises and sunsets. the ebb and flow of the tide on a cloud-flecked beach. (Despite its soulful sound, the album’s cover art—a flaming rainbow, a timed image that could unfortunately be misinterpreted during Pride Month—indicates a latent stream of violence that only occasionally appears on the recording.)

You’re not really sure when it ends either – but like the best work of the group, its shapeless and vaguely defined nature makes it something you can explore over and over and still find something you didn’t notice.

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