pointy-hatted pixie types sigur ros originally intended to record this album up the northernmost mountain in iceland in a disused nato tracking base, only to find after a four-hour boat ride and an eight-hour uphill trek that the place was too full of ice. but even if it wasn't made there, it still sounds as though it was: lonely, eerie, glacially slow and epically monotonous. in some ways this is good. the whole point of sigur ros's idiosyncratic sound, after all, is that it drives you into some remote inner head space where you can feel all mystical and strange. but though it's nice to hear the singer calling like a whale in his made-up ('hopelandish') language, i could have done with a few of the spine-tingling rock-out bits that enlivened its magnificent predecessor agaetis byrjun. this one is as brooding and featureless as the arctic tundra.