Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2000-08-14

Reykjavík-based noise quartet Sigur Ros are the biggest band in their native Iceland, which should say much, much more about the collective insanity of that earthquake-ridden, blizzard-beaten crag of an island than anything to do with Sigur Ros' sound. But in their music, Sigur Ros reflect all the breathtaking glory of the Icelandic wastes--a fairy-tale explosion of unhinged elemental majesty that's finally crystalised here, their debut European release. Poised somewhere between the haunting soundscapes of Labradford and the lilting Celtic falsetto of Enya, Agaetis Byrjun is a truly breathtaking listen. Frontman Jon Por Birgisson sings in a language that Sigur Ros dub Hopelandic--an otherworldly mutation of Icelandic, sung in the falsetto cadence of angels; similarly, he plays his guitar with a violin bow, opening the floodgates for brilliant waves of feedback. And while it's the opening "Svefn-G-Englar" that's Sigur Ros' defining moment to date, there's far more that Agaetis Byrjun has to offer; the pomp and flourish of a full orchestra on "Flugufrelsarinn", or the awe-inspiring near-religious mantra of "Ny Batteri". --Louis Pattison

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