Sigur Ros
( )


3.0
good

Review

by Keelan H. EMERITUS
October 23rd, 2009 | 60 replies | 4,020 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist



Glaciers. Fjords. Vanilla Skies. Mountains. Clouds made of Viva Puffs. These are all hyperbolic analogies for Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros. Well, maybe not that last one but a man can dream can’t he? Essentially I just want to throw those images out the window at the very start so we can’t actually discuss the band and their music itself. Not to say that these images are not apt, certainly the band can creak along with the beauty of a glacier; and you better look the *** out when some of that ice crashes off. But I digress, and for monotony’s sake I will diverge from further comparisons to any more natural phenomenon. To put it simply, Sigur Ros make really, really pretty music that can be both intimate and expansive; subtle and epic. Sophomore effort Ágætis Byrjun is perhaps the best example of this, with the epic “Viõrar Vel Til Loftárasa” to the very personal beauty of the title track. ( ) is the untitled third album and major label debut for the group and like the album title (or, err, lack thereof), all the tracks are also untitled. Instead of “labeling” their music, the band want the listener to implement their own story and images over these sprawling soundscapes. A cerebral exercise to open up the imagination of the listener.

And I call bull***.

But all this doesn’t matter because lets face it, nobody listens to Sigur Ros to be challenged by the music. No; we listen to Sigur Ros to feel happy, or cry, or sleep, or do homework. Their musical validity doesn’t rest on how ‘good’ their music is, but how well it emotes with the listener. How can the listener attach him or herself to the sounds being relayed to them. At its strongest ( ) is sweepingly dramatic and emotionally breathtaking. Who doesn’t get teary eyed at the climactic octave jump at the end of “Untitled 3"? Or feel the utter warmth literally run trough their body in the infinitely gorgeous opener? This type of strong connection translates into a wonderful listening experience and the length of these tracks feel warranted and necessary. They find the right balance of tension and release that doesn’t feel forced or contrived. These songs flow naturally and this is what creates such a euphoric experience for the listener. Of course, not all the album is so successful.

Save for the rather aimless drift of “Untitled 2", the first half is by far the more successful of the parentheses. This leads to the main issue with ( )– it’s really boring. The last four tracks all follow the same pattern, building from ominous drone to earth shattering climax. While at times these crashing finales are all shades of beautiful, as with the pinging keyboard tones at the end of “Untitled 6", they ultimately feel derivative. The end is becomes obvious from the get go, and when that end can be upwards of 13 minutes away, that presents a real problem. “Untitled 5" is perhaps the worst offender of this as it slowly builds its drone in anticipation of something crushing. When that “crushing force” arrives, it feels so uninteresting that the whole experience results in a 10 minute track that completely loses any momentum gained from the more interesting first half. The album struggles to regain that sense of emotional weight and almost never succeeds at all. But then there’s that last track.

And oh what a track that is. “Untitled 8" closes the album in the most epic fashion possible, slowly building from more droning atmospherics to an absolutely hair raising explosion of a climax. It takes the same formula from the past three tracks and actually makes it work. It easily stands heads and shoulders above the rest of ( ), which is somewhat of a shame. We’re given glimpses into the album that could’ve been, which is much better than what is actually produced. A few standout tracks lift an otherwise dreary uninteresting album into a better place. The booklet on the inside of the album is blank aside from a few superimposed images of trees and shrubs so as to further progress the “idea” of the untitled record. Sure it might “progress the idea” or maybe it just shows that the band don’t have that many ideas of their own. Now, I'm off to eat some Viva Puffs.



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user ratings (2117)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
thebhoy
Emeritus
October 23rd 2009



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's doing the same thing as Gyromania's did. Dammit, I see his pain now. Hoping one of the mods can fix this for me cause I came seem to figure out how.

Also... don't neg because of the rating.

Also... this is because this ISN'T the best post-rock album ever, not even close.

Also... working summary: A lot of this sounds better when accompanying naked Penelope Cruz

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2009



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

see here i thought we could be friends

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins [AMDISCS]

kitsch
October 23rd 2009



5105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

rating is more my style

good review


working summary is lol
theres a porn star that looks a lot like penelope cruz

i think her name is catalina cruz

Douglas
October 23rd 2009



8984 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, though disagree.

thebhoy
Emeritus
October 23rd 2009



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

see here i thought we could be friends


we can... can't we all just get along and put our Sigur Ros ratings aside! CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG

can't we all get along just along and but our Sigur Ros ratings aside


had to quote this before I fixed it because it's the worst sentence ever written. Christian coffee shop.

Chewie
October 23rd 2009



4531 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

finally, some sense regarding this album.

Gnomekraft
October 23rd 2009



25 Comments


how do i give a positive, sry newfag

Greggers
October 23rd 2009



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bottom of review: was this review well written: Yes | No

Click yes

InTheShallows
October 23rd 2009



269 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hmmm...well-written and interesting perspective. I see your point, but at the same time i think you're missing the larger point: if you connect with the music emotionally, any slight(or even obvious) redundancy -- simply doesn't matter. In fact, it only serves to heighten the emotional impact. You're overanalyzing just a touch.

Chewie
October 23rd 2009



4531 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you're pretty smart InTheShallows, more so then tons of guys on here.

mutatedfreek
October 23rd 2009



7351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Omg the bastard did it, and he did it well as well.

InTheShallows
October 23rd 2009



269 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's Leyla, Derek: let's keep it real ;)

Thanks, although most of the people on this site are musical geniuses compared to most of the people i know. But yeah, i am pretty passionate when it comes to music, so i suppose i do know a thing or two lol.

Chewie
October 23rd 2009



4531 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's Leyla, Derek: let's keep it real ;)


whatever you say :}, and most people on the site are too "cool" to really express themselves about what they think about music, so its refreshing to see someone that isn't.

oh and,

Now, I'm off to eat some Viva Puffs.


victory.


Douglas
October 23rd 2009



8984 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

most people on the site are too "cool" to really express themselves
Damn elitist bastards

InTheShallows
October 23rd 2009



269 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Haha well as you just found out, my favorite saying is "keep it real." So hopefully i can do that throughout my stay on the site.

and yes, Viva La Puffs! lol

Kiran
Emeritus
October 23rd 2009



5992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

maybe it just shows that the band don’t have that many ideas of their own.

well argued review but i found that one quoted line really off the mark. the rest of their discography pretty much negates that point. this is probably their only album that lacks significant variation in the songs and even so i still find it breathtaking at its best moments.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 23rd 2009



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's definitely a mood piece, an album that must be listened to in it's entirety whereas with other Sigur Ros albums there may be fine songs and such but never the consistency and definite atmopshere here

Chewie
October 23rd 2009



4531 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I find that like the review said, the album just really boring and the atmosphere never really changes at all. And since its such a long record the entire thing just ends up redundant.

thebhoy
Emeritus
October 23rd 2009



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

any slight(or even obvious) redundancy


I agree to an extent, however the point of my review was suggesting that the redundancy took away from the emotional impact of the music, which is why in my opinion the second half fails.

an album that must be listened to in it's entirety


agreed which leads to the problem of why I never want to listen to it. And Kirgasm, I would argue (though I'm in the minority) that Sigur Ros never really had all that many ideas to begin with. Agaestis is their best whole album, Takk has some really good songs but that album has a lot of lackluster tracks too, and their newest one kinda blew outside of a few songs. Sigur Ros have a downward trajectory from my point of view. Plus when I saw them live I was really disappointed, no strings or horns = boring.


Kiran
Emeritus
October 23rd 2009



5992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I find that like the review said, the album just really boring and the atmosphere never really changes at all. And since its such a long record the entire thing just ends up redundant.


most of the people ive tried to introduce this album to have said the exact same thing (like literally, word for word, it's a common complaint) but after going through some of the more accessible albums like takk and their latest, and loving songs like hoppipola, staralfur, etc, they've come back to this eventually and loved it. don't know if that'll work for you but i wouldn't neglect this band just based on this. you might be missing out.

ediiiit - i saw them live one summer in switzerland (two years ago i think?) and they were incredible! strings, horns, all that jazz! where did you see them?



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