Sigur Ros
Med sud i eyrum vio spilum endalaust


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
June 20th, 2008 | 158 replies | 42,999 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Greatness yet again.

I often forget that Sigur Rós is indeed a vocal-led band. For this rather sheltered American suburban kid, it’s easy to see why, as Jón Birgisson sings in Icelandic, a language spoken by just over 300,000 people, or in “Hopelandic”, a language spoken by himself but felt by anyone who hears him sing in it. Especially while singing in Hopelandic, Birgisson’s voice sounds both incredibly human and incredibly ambiguous at the same time. Perhaps this is what makes ( ) the band’s magnum opus to date, as he sang in Hopelandic the entire album. With the release of Takk…, however, the band took a new direction. As their popularity rose, they released singles and composed music just slightly more accessible. Birgisson began singing in Icelandic again, the music involved more guitars, and textures were pushed aside for melodies. More listeners caught onto the powerful talent of this band, and they embarked on a world tour, playing in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia among other places. Not to seem elevated or elitist, they returned to native Iceland and played surprise live shows for anyone who would listen.

This infatuation with home led to the release of Hvarf/Heim and the film Heima, which showed another side of the band, one of spontaneity and a boundless ability to adapt to different environments. With this mindset of taking chances and using impulse to create music, they went into multiple studios, including Abbey Road in London and their home studio in Iceland, to compose með suð i eyrum við spilum endalaust, or with a buzz in our ears, we play endlessly. While a song like “Gobbledigook” took studio precision to create, the majority of the album relies on this spur-of-the-moment philosophy. In fact, “Ára Bátur”, which includes the band, a boy’s choir, and a full orchestra, was recorded in one take. In the album’s more exposed sections, the music has an aimless sense about it, as if the desperation conveyed by its desolation will have no ending.

Despite these moments of unbearable loneliness (such as the fragility of Birgisson’s voice in “All Alright”, the first English song of his career), the overall mood of …endalaust is the most glorious and hopeful the band has ever been. “Inni mér syngur vitleysingur” revolves around a dainty xylophone melody and the same driving percussion that propels “Gobbledigook,” and its final resolution could have been the best climax of the album if not for the sheer power of the 90-person ensemble of “Ára Bátur.” With a powerful brass section vying for prominence over the already stated main melodies, it is by far the most joyous moment on the album. Yet that overshadowing climax in “Ára Bátur” is the perfect example of a band doing what they do best in the largest capacity possible. The first half of the song is more of the understated desolation mentioned earlier, but suddenly the piano takes a new direction with pulsed downbeats. Slowly, the orchestra adds their way in, and the choir takes over Birgisson’s melody, and finally, with one swell of the cymbal, the full potential of Sigur Rós’ talent breaks loose.

For most bands, “Ára Bátur” makes for a perfect ending. This album takes a different approach to the ending, however. That climax is indeed the final and most epic climax on the album. The next four tracks bring the mood of the album down, and with the exception of “All Alright”, don’t do so in the aimless fashion of the beginning of “Festival.” “Illgresi” is, for the most part, just Birgisson and an acoustic guitar, although support from perennial backing string quartet Amiina arrives halfway through the song. “Straumnes”, if but a brief interlude, returns to the subtle texture-based origins of the band. In the broad scope of the entire album, the way it ends is its most subliminally powerful aspect.

But in the even broader scope of Sigur Rós’ career, með suð i eyrum við spilum endalaust does not surpass their previous achievements, although it indeed deserves to rest among the rest of the band’s back catalogue. It stands out from their previous works both in the spontaneity in which it was conceived and in the pure, real sounds that permeate the album. Despite the trippy “Gobbledigook” and the spacey ending to “Suð i eyrum”, most of the album uses acoustic instruments as opposed to the keyboard and guitar effects that dominated their previous work. In this transformation, Sigur Rós have yet again set themselves apart from the rest of the music world, bridging genre gaps and inspiring many others to do the same.



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user ratings (972)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
foreverendeared
June 20th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review i think i agree with this one the most. i'm just surprised anyone has yet to mention the lack of guitar playing with the bow string on this album that gave sigur ros that signature sound to begin with

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 20th 2008



15697 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

this review most closely matches my opinion, and is nicely written.

joshuatree
Emeritus
June 20th 2008



3743 Comments


excellent album, excellent review.

AtavanHalen
June 20th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love this review, much better than the other one and probably better than mine too

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 20th 2008



15697 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

probably

ASberg
June 21st 2008



2161 Comments


Really good review. I should get this since i only have Hvarf/Heim and Takk...

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2008



2597 Comments


who dibbed this so I can feature the right one

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 21st 2008



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lewis.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2008



15697 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

lol nice

brandtweathers
June 21st 2008



2009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wonderful review but i'm going to compare this against lewis' real quick...


SnackaryBinx
June 21st 2008



2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I picked up this cd today and I am loving it so much so far. Definitely my favorite album of the year so far next to Fortress.

brandtweathers
June 21st 2008



2009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ok. after looking at both i think you win, tyler
positive comments for both but you really managed to keep perspective.
kudos bucko (smiley face with a thumbs up while coyly winking)

McP3000
June 21st 2008



3941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

bad cover is bad

natey
June 22nd 2008



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yay, new eargasms
great review

samthebassman
June 22nd 2008



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bewdiful album

lateoctober
June 25th 2008



171 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good album, but Indestructible now has an early rival for most ridiculous album cover of the year.

Foodforthegods
June 25th 2008



425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is fantastic. Ara Batur outro is jaw dropping. So epic and beautiful. The kind of thing you're not expecting and gives you goosebumbs.

Riziger
June 25th 2008



316 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Loving this atm. So beautiful.

Neoteric
June 25th 2008



3243 Comments


Meh.

brandtweathers
June 27th 2008



2009 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

in the vein of mcp3000, this album cover is awesome in its general feeling



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