No matter how they obtained right here or why it took so lengthy, ÁTTA, out Friday, marks a resumption of Sigur Rós as a significant artistic unit slightly than a wheel-spinning legacy act. Their first correct album in 10 years was very consciously created to summon the splendor of this band at their greatest. In press supplies, the assorted members discuss aiming to seize a way of hope within the face of pervasive malaise, of turning their focus from the surface world to the resilience inside. Per Jónsi, “We’re getting older and extra cynical so I simply wished to maneuver us in order that we felt one thing!” It’s a theoretically corny proposition, however all the level of Sigur Rós has all the time been to make the deepest common feelings effectively up inside listeners, to transcend the mundanity of each day life with grand, fantastical gestures. If anybody can get away with framing their album as a retreat from doomscrolling, it’s these guys.
They aimed to create “actually sparse, floaty and delightful” music. They succeeded on all three counts. ÁTTA finds the Icelandic greats pushing previous post-rock right into a extra fluid type of neoclassical composition, largely forsaking drums and most different vestiges of rock music in favor of 1 spectral orchestral motion after one other. On this band’s early 2000s prime, administrators like Cameron Crowe and Wes Anderson made classics from Ágætis byrjun and ( ) important parts of precise film soundtracks, but Sigur Rós — a band who has most likely been described as “cinematic” extra typically than every other — have by no means made an album that sounds extra like a movie rating.
It’s attainable that method is a operate of not having a drummer within the band anymore slightly than some innate compulsion, however they principally made it work. Any excerpt from ÁTTA may catch you in a second of weak spot and devastate you on affect. Opening monitor “Glóð” performs out like an overture calling again to the band’s glory days; constructed round an Ágætis-reminiscent string part and bathed in celestial mild, it appears like being visited by an angel. “Ylur” equally invokes the verbal and melodic phrasing of ( ) in addition to the desolation. The sleek “Skel” grows prettier and extra intense because it goes, Jónsi’s falsetto ascending as if he’s really scaling the symphonic music to its peak. Closing monitor “8” finds widespread floor between Sigur Rós and one thing like José González’s crystalline indie-folk earlier than as soon as once more sending the celebrities aswirl. When the beautiful bluster lastly recedes, even the easy chord modifications that stay glow with a luster few artists can match. (Coldplay might by no means.)
However highlighting particular person songs is inappropriate. You’re supposed to listen to ÁTTA as one unified work, they usually’re critical sufficient about that dictum that my promo copy was one huge 56-minute file. Given the aesthetic consistency all through, that is smart to some extent, nevertheless it additionally underlines the album’s biggest weak spot: With out the dynamic affect of a extra strong percussion part, the songs typically blur collectively, and momentum typically stalls out. We’re a good distance from the hard-hitting jubilance of 2008’s Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, a method that invigorated Sigur Rós even because it undermined their supernatural attract. The brand new method recovers that sense of holy pageantry, however the lack of distinction between these songs turns into clear in these uncommon moments when one thing like a drumbeat does kick in. The pounding pulse that emerges on “Klettur” makes all of the distinction; even a change of tempo like paring down to only an acoustic guitar for a second on “Andrá” goes a good distance towards differentiating the monitor from all of the glittering sameness surrounding it.
Nonetheless, that glittering sameness positive is fairly. ÁTTA is a simple document to understand however a tough one to actually wrap your head round — breathtaking in ways in which make the standard really feel alien, but additionally disembodied, virtually holographic, and subsequently slippery. Given Jónsi’s longstanding use of each his native tongue and the nonsense language Hopelandic, most listeners are already experiencing Sigur Rós as a strictly musical proposition wherein the human voice is only one extra (unbelievably highly effective) instrument inside the sprawl. Scaling again the rhythmic aspect so considerably takes away one other dimension from the music, and that lack of bombast tempers my enthusiasm for an in any other case unbelievable hour of music. However in spite of everything this time, I actually am not about to take such an imposing succession of sounds with no consideration.
ÁTTA is out 6/16 digitally through BMG, with bodily launch to observe on 9/1.