Sigur Rós Announce New Album and New Direction

Apparently Sigur Rós, the chill-out band from Iceland, are releasing a new full length pretty soon. Here’s what their website has to say about the details:

“Sigur rós will release their fifth lp “með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust” june 23rd worldwide (june 24th in north america). the album will be available to pre-order on on june 2nd and a live stream of the album will be available on june 9th for those who have pre-ordered.

“með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust” was co-produced with the band by renowned producer flood, and was recorded in new york city (at sear sound studios), london (at assault and battery studios and abbey road), reykjavík (at álafoss, the band’s studio, as well as a church in reykjavík), and havana, cuba.

the album title is translated into english as “with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly” with the english spelling of the icelandic album title being “med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust”

whereas sigur rós’ last release “heima” took the band to their homeland, their newest creation is the first album in the band’s career to be made outside of iceland. it is also their first album to feature vocalist jónsi’s vocals in english on one track. in addition to the english, one of the album’s tracks is sung without lyrics (“hopelandic”) and the rest of the tracks are sung in icelandic.

inspired by the unfettered feeling of the acoustic performances filmed during heima, sigur rós decided to adopt a looser approach in the writing and creation of með suð. the material for the album was written, recorded and mixed entirely in 2008 and is being released just one month after its completion. the album glows with the perfect imperfection of live takes, the sounds of fingers playing guitar strings, cracked notes, and a stark, upfront presence not found in previous sigur rós recordings, moving away from reverb-soaked guitar sounds towards something altogether more affecting. the record also contains some of the most joyous music the band has ever recorded.

opener “gobbledigook” sets the tone for með suð í eyrum… with its shifting acoustic guitars, playful vocals, time signature swings and swirling percussion, while “inní mér syngur vitleysingur” (“within me a lunatic sings”) sparkles as one of the most anthemic songs sigur rós have ever written. “festival” is epic in its elation and scope, “illgresi” features one of jonsi”s finest vocal melodies over a lone acoustic guitar, and “ára bátur” is the largest musical undertaking in the band’s career, as it was recorded live in one take with the london sinfonietta and london oratory boy”s choir, a total of 90 people playing at the same time. the band also utilised the talents of their string-quartet friends amiina, as well as a five-piece brass section on certain tracks”

You can watch the video for Gobbledigook on their site, where you can also sign up to download the song for free. Wooohoo.
So my first take on the video and song are as follows. The band are departing somewhat from their original ambient yet rising, grandiose sound. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not because I have not heard the entire album. However, with their past offerings, I have found that there is a certain amount of cohesion between songs that adds to the overall aesthetic. If the rest of their new album is anything like Gobbledigook, then we are going to see a departure from the band’s normal boozy, grandiose sound, towards a more upbeat and playful album. I might even call it a quintessential summer album, a label that I don’t think I could have placed on Sigur Ros.

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