Review Summary: The music on ( ) is far beyond regular music - it expresses emotions of sorrow, anguish, beauty, happiness, and love, all at the same time, and it is all left up to the listener to interpret these emotions for themselves.
To have heard of Sigur Rós, you would need to have dug deep through the caverns of music. Hailing from Iceland, and playing music with mostly no real language, its pretty uncommon to have heard of this band in mainstream culture. But what a loss that would be, because the music Sigur Rós creates is far beyond normal music. Take a listen to some Miley Cyrus or Black Eyed Peas on the radio and you can immediately feel the difference, not with your mind, but with your emotions.
It is important to not that this album is spoken neither in English or Icelandic, but in "Hopelandic", a made-up language consisting only of the phrases "You xylo. You xylo no fi lo. You so." This focus on only a few simple syllables allowed the band to craft an album emphasizing the atmosphere and emotion of the music, rather than focusing on the content of the lyrics and formation of the words. While some bands would strive to have the lyrics stick out in your face and stick to your mind like some horrible leech, lyrics that you don't want in your head because of their poor;y-written but catchy nature, the vocals of Jónsi on this album are part of the music, an instrument as well. This is how it should be. The vocals should not be the prominent part of the song, detracting from the musicality by placing focus on simpleton, shallow lyrics and immature concepts.
It also may be important to note that this album has no names. At all (though the titles of tracks were later released). Every song is untitled, and the album name is just a set of parentheses. Perhaps this allows the listener to hear the music for what it is, rather than relating a concept of attaching a name. I can't discern why, but this makes each track more powerful.
The emotions displayed on ( ) are mostly up the the listener to determine, which makes for a very deep and meaningful learning experience. In one song, one's emotions can rollercoaster from immense happiness to feelings of loss, sadness, suffering and anguish, only to spike back up to love and beauty. A strong example of this is the music video to Untitled 1 (also sometimes listed as Vaka). This music video portrays a grouping of kids in a post-apocalyptic world, wearing gas masks and playing in a field of black ash as it gently falls from the sky like snow. The concept is very dark, and yet, the music engrosses the listener with serenity and peace.
The music is divided into halves on the album, with the first half being the calm and gentle part, and the second half picking up in pace and might. This two-faced affair gives yet another expression of emotion, as the second half takes the emotions from the first, and explodes them into far more intense proportions. The music touches the soul, and stimulates a part of the mind which most music does not touch.
( ) is a very hard album to explain. Though most listeners will not understand it, or be able to latch onto the Hopelandic language and lack of song titles, the person who digs deep to feel the emotions expressed within will be taken on an 8 track journey of love, sadness, beauty and sorrow. These emotions are entirely up to the listener to interpret, and they can make up their own meanings. The lyrics being used as an instrument seep into the flowing atmosphere of the music, which emulates the bareness of Iceland, and enhance the experience greatly. All of it combines to show what real music should be.