Back in January Sigur Rós announced its new album, “Kveikur,” due out on June 18 and called it “more aggressive.”
Maybe they were just talking about the album’s first track, “Brenninsteinn.” It starts out with a hulking, crunching bass line and ominous synths, until Sigur Rós’ singer Jónsi comes comes in all light, beautiful and like some sort of mythical creature.
Sigur Rós is looking for new territory to explore on “Kveikur” — namely aggression, instead of optimism. But, is it possible for the band to stand out against its own material? This is an Icelandic, atmospheric-rock group that is known to sing in a made up language. It’s tough to become more unique than that. So, when the band dabbles in new moods, or even in appealing to pop sensibilities, it never ceases to be Sigur Rós.
“Kveikur” is an imaginative, visual album, as we’ve come to expect from Sigur Rós. It builds its soundscapes like a Peter Jackson movie with some of the band’s most appealing hooks to date on “Isjaki” and the album’s title track.