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AU57: Sigur Rós album review

June 1, 2009

Sigur ros - von

SIGUR ROS
VON
ONE LITTLE INDIAN

Before the Vanilla Sky soundtrack, testimonies from superfan Brad Pitt, signing to a major label and gradually becoming one of the biggest bands in the world, Iceland’s finest made this debut album and just about noone heard it. It came out in their homeland in 1997, three years after they formed, and only now is it getting a proper release outside Iceland. Of course, the hardcore fans already know all about it, but it gives the more casual follower a chance to find out where it all started. And the answer to that is ‘in a very weird place’, as ‘Sigur Rós’ is one of the strangest, most unsettling opening tracks you will ever hear – 10 minutes of ambient sound punctuated by some terrifying screams.

Unsurprisingly for a low-key debut release, there is a lot of experimentation here as the band worked out their sound. That results in several tracks that meander prettily without ever making much impact – ‘Hafssól’ and the title track especially – and also a few that sound like a totally different band. ‘Myrkur’ is wonderful, celestial shoegaze with the galloping rhythms and fuzzed-out guitars of Ride or Slowdive. But the tracks that are the most recognisably Sigur Rós, ‘Hún Jörð …’ and ‘Syndir Guðs (Opinberun Frelsarans)’, must rank alongside the very best of their storied career. Von may be a touch patchy, but it’s more than just a fans-only curio.

7/10

DOWNLOAD: ‘MYRKUR’, ‘HÚN JÖRÐ …’, ‘SYNDIR GUÐS (OPINBERUN FRELSARANS)’.
FOR FANS OF: EFTERKLANG, SLOWDIVE, MOGWAI.

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