First impressions of the new Sigur Ros: it feels sparser to me than Agaetis Byrjun. More pared down, less of a feeling of majesty. It doesn’t transport me the way that album did. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for the restraint – the more I listen to Agaetis Byrjun the more the vocals seem over-emoted, and what I used to think was wonderful flow sometimes feels a bit samey these days (though to be fair, intensive listening probably contributed to that too). This one’s got guitars and buildups the first didn’t have, and somewhere in track 8 I was reminded of Mogwai at its best, which is always a good thing for music to remind me of.
I don’t give a toss about the whole Hopelandic thing (the Cocteau Twins have been there done that), and find their doing a John Cage with this CD booklet a bit pretentious, but at the end of the day they still make extraordinarily evocative music, and I can’t wait to see them in February.