Sigur Ros – Valtari (Krúnk)
June 18, 2012 by Fran Jolley
After scrapping work for a new album in 2010, Sigur Ros announced that they were going on hiatus to focus on new projects. However, they’ve still had time to release an album faster than it takes most bands not on a hiatus.
The last time we heard new material from Sigur Ros they had chosen a more commercial route – well commercial sounding by their standards – for Meo Sup I Eyrum Vio Spilum Endalaust. Sadly, in their time away they’ve managed to forget about the song craft of Inni Mer Syngur Viteysingur and moved back to the more ambient dreams of their earlier career, but without the initial freshness of their debut Agaetis Byrjun.
Opener ‘Ed Anda’ takes on an almost classical choral approach – which continues through the first period of the album – and lacks any of the crescendos of their previous efforts. The BBC will be shaking their heads; no longer will they have new material to accompany every nature programme for the next 5 years. ‘Varua’ is the nearest thing to any of their work on Takk; the abrasive percussion attack, backed by the beauty of organs and vocals harmonics, is still a beautiful trick and surrounded by the more tranquil tracks that seem to never move out of even first gear it’s an obvious stand out.
Outside of’ ‘Varua’ and ‘Rembihnutur’ it’s rather hard to even pick out an actual song, other than just ambient pieces that have more in common with the sound of rain water dripping onto a church roof than anything on frontman Jonsi’s solo album Go, which had enough melody to pass any whistle test.
Will Sigur Ros fans be disappointed? If they were waiting for an album to beckon in a new direction for the Icelandic quartet, this is not it. It sadly feels like they have gone back to basics. Was their scrapped 2010 recordings too commercial? Or do they just need to create music that rejuvenates their souls before they can once more go on a new sonic journey. Valteri is a disappointment, but great music for aromatherapy.