with a glacial grandeur, iceland's sigur rós reactivate the atmospheric pressure and monumental ambition of 80s bliss pop outfits like ar kane and the cocteau twins
after releasing 3 albums through iceland's renowned smekkleysa label, uk debut svefn-g-englar delineates their taste for the epic with upscale creations like 'viðrar vel til loftárása', whose silvery steinway piano motifs the philarmonics envisage a kranky act making a seismic aesthetic shift into crafting 'goodbye yellow brick road' balladry.
formed in 1994 during the harsh icelandic winter, the four piece arrived at their name through delightful happenstance. 'we formed on the same day as my sister was born. my sister's name is sigur rós, so it seemed natural to name the group after her,' says jónsi. softly spoken on the phone, on the mic jónsi's vocals are as enticingly fragile as a siren inviting sailors to smite themselves on the rocky outcrops of the treacherous shore. engendering strung-out emotional states, his falsetto is so close to the tremulous vibrations of the female larynx it's hard to believe the words ever slipped from the lips of a man. 'I know,' sighs jónsi. 'I feel very connected to my feminine side, but I'm not trying to sound like a woman,' he adds with a a laugh.
a seeming race memory of the dark days when the danes ruthlessly suppressed any expression of indigenous icelandic culture, jónsi subverts the powerful oral tradition of his native land, singing in an improvised, invented language he charmingly calls 'hoplandish', a non-verbal syntax stream that stretches across sigur rós' echoic spaces. 'I called it hopelandish because I first sang this way on a song from our first album that translated as 'hope'. we think it's much better to get an honest feeling than just remembering or reading a text.' listen in and let sigur rós' lyrical pop transport you to a world of unspoken emotions.