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  Agaetis Byrjun  
  Sigur Ros  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  PostLibyan and Silvergeek  

Silvergeek: Hey you indie-freaks! Buy this album and you can say "Oh, I love those Icelandic bands" because that's where these geeks are from.

PostLibyan: Yeah, i noticed that. How the heck do you pronounce these songs names? How do i get that A E with the circle over it as one character when i type????

Silvergeek: I think the band name is CEE-gar ross. I think. There is some pronunciation stuff on their website!

PostLibyan: Ah yes. I still can't type these names though... Oh well.

Silvergeek: Anyway, Sigur Ros's music is a complex blend of sounds that soar and bubble and you'll swear it's the most beautiful thing you've ever heard. But i'm gonna kick your ass if you call this post-rock.

PostLibyan: You would? Hmmm... well, what if i call it psychedelic rock? You see, there are times when i really really think that Sigur Ros are ripping off early Pink Floyd. Okay, well, one song really: track 2, which i think is called Staralflur. This song totally reminds me of Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd. Granted, it's slightly more modern sounding (that is, there are certain "electronica bits" in there that Floyd doesn't have). But really, i think that the Pink Floyd comparison is really close.

Silvergeek: I don't know what i think about that! Is it meant to be an insult -- i mean, comparing them with an overplayed mass-marketed band like that. Why i oughta....

PostLibyan: I don't consider this an insult. I like Pink Floyd. I think that they made some great tunes. Granted, the fact that they can be heard on a classic rock station somewhere in your town RIGHT NOW, and that this is true of any point in time, is kind of disgusting. However, that's really a problem with the Radio and not with Pink Floyd. And it's really only track 2 that sounds "Floyd-y". The rest of the time they take that psychedlic sound and layer keyboards and strings over it to great effect.

Silvergeek: Hrmmm. Well okay, i don't want you to insult them though, because the music is sooooo beautiful. It's very beautifully orchestrated, complex music and the girl who sings has one of the most amazing voices.

PostLibyan: Ummm, "girl"? Look again at that website Silvergeek!

Silvergeek: Okay.


Silvergeek: Whoops! To my surprise, "the girl who sings" is actually a boy! Yes, one more reason to run out and buy this album right now. I actually knew it was a boy from a long time ago, but sometimes when listening to the album, i forget that it's actually a boy because he sounds exactly like a girl with a soaring emotional voice. Amazing!

PostLibyan: I like the singing pretty good, but what i really like is the percussion. The drummer is really well miked. In a way, it reminds me of the drumming in Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk. There is the distinct hint of echo involved, but not an "effect" echo. It is rather the echo of a wide room with a drum kit hammering away in the middle of it. Very very nice.

The only thing that bothers me is -- i wonder what the heck they are saying, and what is all this text on the album? What does it say?

Silvergeek: Who cares if they're not singing in English? It's more interesting hearing those Icelandic words and wondering what they are really saying behind that pretty melody.

PostLibyan: I guess so. I dunno though -- usually i like not fully understading the lyrics (see: my obsession with Cocteau Twins for more info). However, i think that because the voice is so crystal clear, that the lack of comprehension on my part bothers me.

Silvergeek: It does? It doesn't bother me!

PostLibyan: Yes, and THAT bothers me as well. This is what Brillo would call "cultural hegemony". I, as a stupid American who does not really speak any language other than English, am somewhat bothered by this flaunting of another language. I mean, Gus Gus and Bjork and The Sugarcubes are all from Iceland too, and none of them inflict their language on me! Sigh. I guess i am just being an insensitive American. I admit that whatever he is singing, the language does sound beautifully poetic. I wonder, is this how the average Icelander feels when listening to Southern California hardcore punk bands? Hmmm....

Anyway, this is a pretty minor point, and doesn't really affect my enjoyment of the album, it's just.... strange i guess. Noteworthily strange at that. You see, most Americans have no experience whatsoever listening to music that they can't understand. It's a complaint that lots of people make about Cocteau Twins, and i wonder if it will effect Sigur Ros's potential sales in this country? Will the average American be able to get past the fact that he is singing in Icelandic and see that the music is truly remarkable? I dunno.....

Silvergeek: Well i REALLY like this disc. I hope these guys tour the US! I'd love to see them live. In fact, there are tentative plans up on their website, but nothing definite yet. Oh, i can't wait!

PostLibyan: Me neither! But to sum up real quick -- if you like psychedelic music with lush orchestration and amazing vocals, then run (don't walk) to your internet connection and order this album! I say order, because i have never seen it in a store... It's really worth it if you can find it. And if you are still dubious about spending the $18 or so (plus shiping) for this disc, go to the website (which we keep mentioning) and download the two or three free MP3's they have there. Its a good sample. Heck, those free songs made me a fan!

Related Links:
  Sigur Ros's very own website (English language version).  

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