Thursday, 8 April 2010

When bands have babies

Jónsi has started his tour after the release of his new solo album. The rest of Sigur Rós left this message on their website:
so, we may all be off on “indefinite hiatus”, “having babies”, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a little time out of our busy diaper changing schedule to wish our singer jonsi heartfelt good luck on his own first baby-steps without his *real* band for the first time in, ooh, 15 years, must be. we’ve heard the record and, honestly, some of it is quite good. ok, that’s a joke. ‘go’ is bloody marvellous. well done, strákur, always knew you had it in you, etc – although you could lay off the english; we’ve got our ‘mystique’ to think about.

That just about sums it up. Go is like an explosion from the second you turn it on. Less interested with building up ambient soundscapes, it just wants to make you smile. The first two tracks, 'Go Do' and 'Animal Arithmetic' burst into an ecstatic cacophony of sound, building and falling quickly and unpredictably. It's a layered, full sound, with any instruments they could find shoved in. Even when the pace is slowed down for 'Grow Till Tall' it's still incredibly loud. And that's the highlight of the album - a soaring epic that stretches up and up until it breaks at the top. Here Jónsi's voice has never sounded better. He's not drowned out under effects, he's up front where he should be.

The fact that he's singing in English isn't that troubling. Sigur Rós shouldn't worry too much about their 'mystique'. He sings in such a way that it's hard to work out what he's saying anyway, and it's occasionally nice to have the mystery of the lyrics broken. The Icelandic that is here comes with a nice relief, comforting and unintelligible as always.

In places Go reaches heights that Sigur Rós' last album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, never did. It's a colourful and wonderful thing that can be placed alongside the best of his 'real' band. That being said, I can't wait for the rest to get fed up looking after babies and start making music again. How interesting can babies be? This is what Jónsi can do by himself - the songs he has collected over about ten years. After this it'll be time to see what Sigur Rós can do next.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reminding me of this singer again...Listening to his work makes me think "Art can save us". I'm going to see if I can get to a store to buy this today.