I had a girlfriend in high school who once called me up to babble incoherently about the fantastic occasion she’d just attended— a Sigur Rós show in LA. Rambling on the phone, she sounded like she was on PCP. It’s strange that music so beautiful and melodic can evoke such manic emotion.
Anna’s fanatical zeal sullied my chances at jumping on the Sigur Rós bandwagon early; there was no way I was drinking her Jim Jones-brand Kool-Aid. A few weeks later, we were broken up and I was deaf to her evangelizing.
My loss. It took me several more months before I finally chanced a listen to Sigur Rós’s “Ágætis Byrjun.”
It was love at first orchestral swell. This was sound to kick me out of my high school listening habits.
The brooding angst of Nine Inch Nails could be supplanted with the melancholy ambiance of “Ny Batterí.” The overwrought melodrama of Billy Corgan would be one-upped by the over-arching beauty of “Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása.” Some tracks beggered emotions I hadn’t even thought to address through musical selection; the closing flute of “Olsen Olsen” brings a bounce to my heart to this day.
The follow-up album, with its parenthetical title and nameless tracks, was a massive letdown for me. I bid my time through the EP and LPs that followed, waiting for the band to renege on its artistic mission and go back to simply making beautiful music.
It was a long four years, but Sigur Rós is shooting to kill again. “Takk” sees the Icelanders back in better form. It’s no “Ágætis Byrjun,” but it’s no “BA BA TI KI DI DO” either.