Sigur Ros
Valtari


3.0
good

Review

by Houston Molinar USER (2 Reviews)
May 18th, 2012 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sigur Ros barely breaks even with Valtari

What was it about Sigur Ros that captured the hearts and ears of listeners twelve years ago? One could investigate this from a myriad of different angles but one undeniable aspect that everyone who experienced Sigur Ros’ earlier records concedes is that they broke down barriers of a generation searching for its musical voice at the turn of the millennium. Initially, people didn’t know what to think. People had been raised in a counterculture music society that praised distortion and disregarded anything that provided the listener a soundtrack to letting go of preconceived notions that beautiful music shouldn’t be enjoyed much less revered for its groundbreaking attempts to encourage a generation to experience music rather than just hear it. Surely this alone is reason enough to tag Sigur Ros as one of the most relevant bands of the last twelve years. A twelve years that saw the rise of music being felt, viewed and experienced in ways that will be immeasurable for decades to come.

In stark contrast, the band’s new record Valtari does anything but live up to the legacy the band established as pioneers of a new musical age. The band has readily admitted that 2008’s Með suð * eyrum við spilum endalaust was a departure that alienated fans but stated in several interviews that a new record was coming and with it the band would hearken back to the progressive, dream like musical soundscapes of their earlier outings. Certainly a statement that got fans reinvigorated again. But with that promise came the massive pressure to live up to something that any other band would have shrunk in the face of, let alone the very band that spawned that legacy. Valtari brings with it the grim reality that bands who ingratiate themselves early on with records that the heavens would weep over only find themselves just out of arms reach trying to recapture that relevancy with each passing record. Is Valtari a beautiful piece of work? Yes. Is it what we know Sigur Ros is capable of producing? No. And at this stage, I’m not sure giving the band a pass or emphatically proposing to let them remain content in producing records that clearly fall short is the answer.

Eg anda, the records opening track does little to engage listeners with nothing more than a droned out melody that moves at the pace of a snail soaked in molasses. The track meanders for well over three minutes until hitting a midpoint roadblock where the band wanders into a crescendo that never quite delivers. Sprinkled throughout Valtari are classic Sigur Ros elements of other-worldly instruments, Jonsi’s unmistakable falsetto and the bright production that Sigur Ros is known for. All of the elements are in place once again to create something mere mortals couldn’t dream of creating but somehow falls short of hitting a fever pitch. It’s a theme that indelibly echoes throughout the relatively short 54 minute run time.

Varúð, the third track on the record is a departure in conjunction with the record as a whole. For one track the band delivers on their promise and gives us a glimpse at maybe the last fantastic moment we will ever experience of the band that perfected the beautiful, chaotic sonic climb in a song. Within Varúð lies a spirit that most fans miss and yearn for again; the spirit of hope. And with the calm before the storm all the way until the heavens open up, Varúð provides six minutes and thirty seven seconds worth of memories that we can cherish as to why we fell in love with this band in the first place.

Why did we love this band so much? Was it really in fact because they broke down barriers in music or taught us how to appreciate music in ways we had never considered before? I would suggest that none of those reasons are why we fell in love with this band twelve years ago. Sure, they are valid reasons. But, the real reason lies in the fact that for the people who understood them, they completely transformed and changed your musical outlook. They evoked something inside of you that you never knew existed. Something Valtari can’t even begin to lay claim to as badly as it wants to.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
May 18th 2012


16019 Comments


Is this streaming or released anywhere?

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

Tyrael
May 18th 2012


20886 Comments


^ They streamed the album on their website, not sure if it's still up tho

http://sigur-ros.co.uk/valtari/hour/

http://consequenceofsound.net/2012/05/stream-sigur-ros-valtari/

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

MichaelSnoxall
May 18th 2012


12163 Comments


This was everything I wanted from the band. Maybe it's because I've been into Ambient a lot lately... I'm glad it isn't a rehash of their old work. That would have sucked. This is the reason I love this band. And I thought this was pretty engaging.

Willie
Moderator
May 18th 2012


16019 Comments


If it was streamed at all, that's good.

Timmons
May 18th 2012


561 Comments


whoa willie your avatar is trippy..

Photon
May 18th 2012


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This was so disappointing.

Pentagon
May 18th 2012


1998 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

one review a day

Titan50
May 18th 2012


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This leaked over a month ago, why hasn't it already got 34565 votes and a 4.8 average

MichaelSnoxall
May 18th 2012


12163 Comments


@Titan50 - Because some people actually wait for the album.

mindleviticus
May 19th 2012


8237 Comments


This was so good, highly disagree with this review

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

parrot
June 17th 2013


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i find this review to be really good. sentimental. although i feel valtari is beautiful, quite powerful and a good, if necessary, part of the sigur discography

but yeah, great writing



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