Well I have listened to it and listened to, and I think I might be able to talk about it a bit now…finally. Since grabbing this LP a day or two after it came out (on 2/23/08) I have listened to it almost a dozen times, sometimes during the day, sometimes while reading or studying, sometimes right before I go to sleep a night, and it fits all of these situations fabulously. I listen to other post rockers like Labradford, Tortoise, or even Mogwai, and I never feel both the emotional pull and the complete synaptic immersion that Sigur Rós elicits, something that happens easily on “Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust,” the band’s 7th full length.
What sets “Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust” (which translated means with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly) apart from recent releases from the bands I mention above are its compelling, angelic sounding vocals that lend their drama a feeling of hope, and love, along with the constant impending drops and rises in the music. Without describing much of Sigur Rós’ back catalogue, besides to say that their sound has been both evolving and yet still staying true to the elements that make the music so compelling, on this disc I am feeling a sense that they are putting the more powerful mechanics of their music–it’s progressive power–to bette, more powerful use.
Like other post-rock acts, Sigur Rós’ music is filled with acoustic instruments that stress a more eclectic and unadorned sound, yet ramp up to tasteful crescendos. They combine rustic and eclectic sounds on “Gobbledigook” to create a bouncing yet fun–and a somewhat uncharacteristic song for Sigur Rós–number that immediately looks like a fairly conventionally structured song. The song is interesting, standing out more than adding to the LP, yet I feel that this is so because the band is experimenting, growing.Slow, elegant xylophone begins the epochal “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur” that methodically climbs to a sublime release composed of soaring strings and vocals. The relaxing, and at first muted, acoustic passage of “Góðan daginn” carries the disc’s lighter feel and exemplifies Sigur Rós’ new, changing sound. They continue this energy on “Við spilum endalaust,” in which the rhythm, anchored by beat-driven piano, carries the listener off to an emotive experience that Sigur Rós has not really covered yet. I’m not sure how to describe it, besides that it’s as close to “Gobbledigook” in song structure and uplifting ability as any other song on the disc.However, with the end of “Við spilum endalaust” we get a regression to Sigur Rós’ earlier, tried and true aesthetic, quite similar to “( ).” “Festival” is a nine-minute standout that takes the listener on a mournful, very un-“Festival”-like tone. I think that “Festival” is the standout track on this disc, even though it upholds the bands “normal” song structure, it provides a new song in the Sigur Rós vein. I’m not campaigning for sameness, because I like the majority of the songs on the disc; however, “Festival” is the most powerful, compelling, emotional song.
When I first listened to this album all the way through, I pictured the band playing it live, starting chronologically from start to finish, beginning at about 6:30 on a summer afternoon. Starting at this time, hearing “Gobbledigook” would be the perfect feeling song for a mid-summer concert, and as the sun sets, the songs become more intense, darker, and finally almost wispy, non-existent. I think the band had something interesting in mind when they constructed this one. They’ve created something new, and it’s good.