Sigur Ros - Valtari

by Dan Clay Rating:7 Release Date:2012-05-28

Sigur Ros' last studio album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, emerged as probably their most commercial yet. Fans of that or 'Hoppípolla's soaring, sweeping cheeriness will find that the band's sixth album is far more reflective, closer in tone to 1999's Ágætis byrjun, albeit finding the band enjoying the particular niche of beautiful soundscapes they've made their own since then.

While that may be a disappointment to those who've only recently fallen under the spell of lead singer Jonsi's enthrallingly spectral voice, given his work on the We Bought a Zoo soundtrack, Valtari rewards those who curl up and settle down for an extended listen far more than those who just want to dip in and find something to brighten their day. Of course, the latter will still find those gems, in particular on the gorgeous '

', the climactic 'Varúð' and softer album highlights 'Dauðalogn' and 'Varðeldur'; all five building from simple beginnings into something which can't fail to stir the hardest heart and delight auteur film directors the world over.

However, while the title track might beguile and frustrate in equal measure, album closer '

' emerges from these eight tracks as a beautiful instrumental close to an album which showcases a band confident and relaxed with their own sound. Happier songs will no doubt spring from Sigur Ros in the future, but for now this will do just fine.

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