Sigur Rós was one of those bands that I just did not understand. When Takk… came out I tried to listen to it based on all the amazing reviews and I just didn’t get it. When I was in Australia, a bouncer at a club where they had just played described their sound as ‘whales humping’. That pretty much explained it for me. But I kept coming back to this Icelandic band and gradually found the genius in it. The soundscapes they create are so much more than ‘whales humping’…they are beautiful in a way that’s indescribable.
Sigur Rós music sounds like it is being made by hundreds of musicians…that’s why I was so shocked when I saw them perform. There were only 4 of them! How was that possible? It opened my mind up to how talented these guys really are.
Now Sigur Rós are on hiatus and one member, Jónsi, is left to make music on his own.
I have to admit I was skeptical about this. I understand that 4 people can make huge music that sounds like a full orchestra, but 1 man? Not too sure about that. Especially after the underwhelming instrumental Riceboy Sleeps album he put out under Jonsi & Alex last year.
I’m happy to say Jónsi proved me wrong. He has said in interviews how hard it was to work alone. He missed having the guys to bounce ideas off. The way he explained it, I was almost expecting a depressing, lonely album. But this is anything but. It’s got the soul of Sigur Rós, but it’s definitely Jónsi’s own work. First of all, most of it is in English (he has been speaking it lately because he has an American boyfriend). Second, it’s got upbeat songs like Animal Arithmetic and Around Us mixed in with ballads like Kolnidur…all surrounded by tracks like Sinking Friendships and Boy Lilikoi that wouldn’t sound out of place on 2008’s Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. This does not sound like a one off solo outing…it’s much more than that.
We will miss Sigur Rós, but in the meantime we will enjoy Jónsi.