REVIEW: SIGUR RÓS – MEÐ SUÐ Í EYRUM VIÐ SPILUM ENDALAUST (2008)
When the track details emerged with an English song included, the latest artistic endeavor from Sigur Rós ratcheted expectations after 2005’s Takk…and 2007’s Heima film (one of the most visually stunning cinematic films of recent memory). Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust (XL Recordings/EMI, 2008) introduces shortened songs (only three surpass six minutes) coupled by a subtle self-professed folk influence into a classical pallet of musicianship that rests practically unparalleled.
The album has a distinctly earthy tone, absent of fuzz and the walls of sound similar like Sæglópur; Við Spilum Endalaust gets close to this, but without the buzz. It starts with a spring in its step in Goobledigook, a mixed tempo piece with drums that-regardless of guitar-build the path into the rest of the album. The trail, dotted with whispers and sliding acoustic punctuation, abandons the technical in favor for more organic handclaps and coupled choruses. The triumphant journey continues throughout Með, but is more held back than previous albums to ensure aspects aren’t inundated.
The classical music melodies are more refined than Takk…, which grow more concisely than before. Down one fork, as on Við Spilum Endalaust, it is short, sweet, and distinctly pop-orientated. Festival, the other fork, takes you through a long, winded solitary path accompanied by Jónsi (practically by himself). The echoing vocals adding to the emphasis, dropping from a high over four and a half minutes in before unveiling the hidden memorable melody of Með Suð Í Eyrum. The minimalism dominating the first half gradually builds, with strings ‘tuning’ into the buildup. The conclusion alone is worth the nine and a half minute journey.
As opposed to other Sigur Rós albums, it’s not as easy to get hypnotized by it. The length is enough to pull you in, then lead you elsewhere. It’s refreshing to hear that the Icelandic group can do that, as their music often does that and leads to some lesser tracks being overwhelmed by the epics. On Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust, the opuses still reign (Ára Bátur being the other), but the shorter, more concise songs as a whole stand up better than before.
Note: Yes, I did find out how to do the ð without copy/paste! Go Apple U.S. Extended Keyboard! (Option+D=ð)