The Art of Noise from New Sigur Rós album “Kveikur”.

Sigur Ros, before  4 became 3.

Sig­ur Ros, before 4 became 3.

After last year’s album Val­tari was released, rumours were rife that Sig­ur Rós were on the verge of split­ting up. Sure enough their long time key­board play­er left a few months lat­er. But his depar­ture seems to have been rea­son­ably ami­ca­ble. And bare­ly a year lat­er, they’re back with a new album.

Sigur Ros' new album Kveikur

Sig­ur Ros’ new album Kveikur

Kveikur is their 7th stu­dio album, and the first since mov­ing to their new label XL, after EMI and Par­lophone were acquired by Uni­ver­sal. And it very much con­tin­ues where the last one left off.

Val­tari, which I reviewed ear­li­er here, was a con­scious move away from the more lis­ten­er friend­ly tracks they’d begun pro­duc­ing four or five years ago. And the depar­ture of their key­board play­er has fur­ther fed into this.

This is a far more mus­cu­lar affair. The rhythm sec­tion has been allowed to sur­face in a way that hasn’t been heard for some time. Not to pro­duce songs, or any­thing that might sound like a sin­gle. But to mar­ry the sort of grungy, post-punk feed­back that sat under some of the tracks on () and Takk with Jonsi’s oth­er world­ly vocals.

As the boys for Pitch­fork remarked in their review, where they gave it an approv­ing 8.1, this is a return, if not to what they were doing before, then to what they’d been hint­ing at in much of that ear­li­er work. Ethe­re­al poise dri­ven by indus­tri­al noise.

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