There's a big naughty "P" word that always comes to mind when approaching albums such as the new Sigur R㠲elease: pretense. It's a hated word and artistically inclined rock bands should try to avoid it like the plague. And on Sigur R㧳 previous effort they proved leagues of critics, armed with the "P" word, terribly wrong. So here I sit with the new record in front of me - an eight track cd with no album title, no song titles, and "liner notes" that consist of twelve blank pages - and all that comes to mind is our eight-lettered enemy.
Of course, all preconceptions fade the second the album begins. With the number of post-rock bands out there nowadays, it's nice to see that Sigur R㠨ave carved their own little niche and developed a distinctive style. The defining element, of course, being J⠂irgisson's unmistakably beautiful vocals. Like previous material, the lyrics on the album are presented in the fictional language "Hopelandic." This is a non-issue, however, as the music carries more than enough emotional weight on its own.
Musically, this album doesn't stray far from its predecessor. The only problem I've found is that the material on "( )" seems far less organic than on "g洩s Byrjun." The songs sound extemely well rehearsed and orchestrated. Not that this is a bad thing, it makes for a more polished sounding album. But it does compromise some of the magic found in the fresh spontaneous sound of "g洩s Byrjun." The eight songs here flow into each other with the only break coming between the (imagined) A and B sides. Standout tracks include "Track 4" and "Track 8."
If you are familiar with Sigur R㠴han this album won't come as a surprise to you but you also shouldn't have any problems enjoying it. If you new to Sigur R㠴han this album is a decent introduction to their body of work, but for the best experience, I recommend "g洩s Byrjun."