In recent years, viking funerals in which the deceased is sent out to sea on a burning pyre have somewhat decreased in popularity. However, if a standard cremation simply isn't your thing, Sigur Ros' latest release 'Kveikur' will serve as the perfect soundtrack.
In an interview with Pitchfork back in January the band described their new material as ‘more aggressive’: this is evident straight from the first track and first single from the album, Brennistein, a thumping song with a distinct lack of gravity pulling you out of yourself. There’s something distinctly worn and tribal about the album, as if it were not written but discovered in paintings on a cave wall. Kveikur – which translates as ‘Candlewick’ – marks a departure from Sigur Ros’ previously more prog sound, and into a world of tribal drums and campfire rituals.
Another strength of the album is a certain naturalistic quality with which the band is not entirely unfamiliar. Sigur Ros use as many amps and guitars and pedals and production tools as the next band, but there’s something inherently real and uncreated about their music. I guess this lies partly in the fact that the album is so well produced – they have their singles, but they’re not a band you remember for one song, doubly so if your Icelandic isn’t very good. Each song on the album melts together beyond recognition. There are nine tracks – but you only listen to Kveikur. And it's certainly a worthwhile listen.