Elizabeth Stolfi
staff writer
September 29, 2005
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Rock Music Reviews
Sigur Rós
Takk...

When Sigur Rós’ last album came out in 2002, they did not give it a cover, a name, or song titles. Their music spoke volumes over any possible artwork or name. The vocals of Jón Ţór Birgisson were so beautiful that they were not even real words of any language. The band had gained a reputation as “aliens;” their music not of this Earth. That untitled album musically captured what it must feel like to be born, if we were all lucky enough to remember. The light hitting your face for the first time must be something like “Untitled 1.” Or, perhaps it is the soundtrack for the afterlife. Only they know, and they are not telling.

On Takk..., the band continues to be too talented for words, thoughts, or feelings. The opener is a short 2 minute slide of keyboards and strings, barely preparing you for the music to come. “Glosoli,” the albums first full track, is Sigur Rós at their greatest and most fearful. The sounds of Birgisson’s vocals are that of Heaven’s voice itself. An out of place distorted bass line quickly finds a home, and the song rises to a finish worthy of tears.

Track 5, “Se Lest,” begins with chimes and violins, and builds to a powerful chorus, a full orchestra and vocals that grab your heart almost too tightly. You want to know what the words mean, but at the same time his voice is so sincere that you feel as if you understand Icelandic. Each song is a journey. Layers and layers of words, strings and effects are haunting, like images of sunlight hitting a field of snow; quiet and desolate; lonely yet in the company of everything important. The end of the song calms to a marching band build-up of horns and drums.

“Gong,” being the closest thing on the album to a pop song, sounds more like Radiohead or Starsailor than Sigur Ros (considering that you feel the need to hear a comparison and make yourself feel better). Yet, God himself is still jealous that he can not write music this good; Guitars that chime like “There There,” and a voice that haunts like “Everything in its Right Place.” There is still something about Sigur Rós that is unlike any other popular artist. Whether it’s the complete disregard for any music scene, rule or boundary, or the missing arrogance that would normally come with a band this great, Sigur Ros are simply making music. They are making the kind of music that we can listen to in 100 years and say “How did they do this?”

Every song plays out in one of these ways; all abstract, all incredible. Sitting down and analyzing it is almost pointless. “Saeglopur” is so good, it can’t even be explained. They present themselves as a regular four piece band, with vocals, guitar, bass and drums. It doesn’t seem fair that Kjartan Sveinsson’s job in the band is narrowed down into “keyboards.” Sigur Rós go way beyond the expectations of a four piece rock band, if you could even call them that.

It may seem silly to praise something this much, but hearing is believing. It has been said that they perfectly capture the beauty of their homeland, Iceland. If Iceland looks anything like this, why don’t we all live there?

Release date: September 13, 2005
Label: Geffen
Rating: 10.0 / 10

[RMR]