TRACK LIFE: Sigur Ros – “Brennisteinn”
Welcome to Track Life, a daily column in which Jacob Knight shares what he thinks to be the best in music, both new and old.
I had a totally different selection for today, but then Sigur Rós came along and announced a new album and shared the first single. And I just couldn’t help but want to talk about my favorite band for a bit.
Kveikur is promised to be much more aggressive than last year’s Valtari, an album that found the band abandoning their theatrical, shoegaze roots for a mostly ambient, floaty sound that did away with the pounding rhythms of Orri Páll Dýrason. Some found the record to be almost formless, an exercise in restraint that drew more from Jonsi & Alex’s experimental work as Riceboy Sleeps than it did from the band’s established formula. I disagree with these assessments, as I found Sigur Rós simply stretching their already expansive sound and creating a record of droning (and draining) emotion; LSD flavored cough syrup to help ease you into a trance-like state of consciousness.
If “Brennisteinn” is any indicator, those days of drone are far gone, replaced by a bass line drenched in sludge and Dýrason’s thundering kit. But nobody seemed to tell Jónsi that the band was switching things up, as his vocals add a trace of soft dissonance to the otherwise aggro-as-promised cut. The driving sound breaks at the bridge, giving way to Jónsi’s usual sky-scraping vocals and revealing that the band is still interested in beauty amongst the rubble. While I’m not totally sold on this being the band’s new direction, I’ll still give them the benefit of the doubt, as I can’t wait to hear this damn near apocalyptic track in a live setting.
Kveikur Track Listing: