Sigur Rós, who just surprise announced their eighth studio album, appropriately titled ÁTTA (which means “eight” in Icelandic), get the symphonic treatment on their latest record. Recorded between their home studio in Iceland, multiple studios in the US, and Abbey Road Studios in London, where they recorded with the London Contemporary Orchestra under the direction of Robert Ames, it is the grand sweeping arrangements that we’ve come to expect from the Icelandic band who’s sold over ten million copies of their previous albums.
Joined by multi-instrumentalist and keyboardist Kjartan Sveinnson once again, it is a return to form, and though lead vocalist, Jónsi, says that they have become more cynical with age, they strike a chord with resounding hope in their droney but evocative arrangements, and environmentally conscious titles on this record (mostly in Icelandic) like “Moor,” “Shell,” and “Rock.”
You don’t have to understand what Jónsi is saying to get the sentiment: life is a beautiful and precious thing, worth protecting. Something the dramatic album cover signifies as well. They are playing all sold-out shows in the US this summer, and this album promises to be as emotionally cathartic in person as it is on the album. Their lead single, “Blódberg,” which is named after creeping thyme, is cut from the same cloth as their older tunes, and that would be my only criticism of the record, that if you’ve heard one Sigur Rós album, you’ve heard them all.
But, let it be said, no-one can do atmospheric rock, with their use of falsetto singing and string-like guitars, like Sigur Rós can, though they’ve bred plenty of bands trying to do the same in their wake. For the die hard Sigur Rós fan, this is an event. For anyone who has never listened to Sigur Rós, this is a revelation. For the rest of us, this is a chance to get lost in some of the most emotional rock of modern times for a satisfying hour of your life, and demands replays for sure.
Pre-order ÁTTA by Sigur Rós HERE
Looking for something new to listen to?
Sign up to our all-new newsletter for top-notch reviews, news, videos and playlists.