Sigur Rós // Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Translation: With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly. This mysterious Icelandic ensemble’s fifth album moves even further towards conventional instrumentation and composition, featuring distinctly audible lead vocals and instruments, short, memorable melodies, and moments where their ambient, mystical frozen soundscapes are abandoned for what sounds like an actual band playing in a small room. “Gobbldigook” opens things as if they were a pop group. From there the washes of sound deepen, but only occasionally blur into the ambient mode of the band’s earliest releases (though the ethereal pace of the nine-minute “Festival” comes close, and the placid pulse of “Straumnes” and “All Alright” qualify). Shades of Radiohead, orchestral pop, film noir and even a haunting of the Beach Boys’ high harmonies can be picked up in the mix. “Vid Spilum Endalaust” sounds like a ‘90s sadcore anthem. “Ara Batur,” another nine-minute maelstrom, begins at the piano and builds gradually until the London Sinfonietta and London Oratory Boy’s Choir take things to an epic scale. “Illgresi” is a straightforward acoustic ballad. “Fljotavik” soars on a ghostly falsetto. Still a band of much natural and supernatural beauty.