Icelandic-language rock has never been on the forefront of popularity, but Sigur Rós seems to be the exception. With their ethereal sound and light spectacle live performances, knowing what the lyrics mean is secondary or perhaps not even relevant at all.
Sigur Rós’ seventh full-length, Kveikur, begins with a quiet bang. There is this soft static in the distance, and then there is a huge crescendo into fortississimo using industrial, distorted bass. The first 20 seconds of Kveikur is unnerving and menacing, but it sets the tone well for the album. The opening track “Brennisteinn” is a muddled, abrasive, and at nearly eight minutes long, it’s one of the boldest and mystifying tracks Sigur Rós has ever put on a record.
While clashing and volatile pounding beats begin Kveikur, the album goes up and down in its sound. The track “Hrafntinna” is a quiet meditation; the song feels equally dense and dainty. The track “Yfirborð” has traces of dubstep, though still in touch with the understated sounds Sigur Rós is famous for.
Sigur Rós walk a curious path between violence and splendor. They have never sounded like anyone else and no one else has ever sounded like them. Kveikur is monstrous; Kveikur is magnificent.
You can hear Sigur Rós on Sound Waves from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. on WFIT 89.5 fm.