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Album Review

The heaps of praise during 2000 surrounding 1999's Ágætis Byrjun brought surprisingly little attention to Sigur Rós' first record, released in 1997. Remaining available only through the band's Icelandic label, it took some effort to obtain, but those who did get a copy probably found it to be just as adventurous as Agætis. Though darker and more fractured than the string-laden nooks of the follow-up, it's just as sprawling and outright bombastic. It's remarkable that such a young band would be this experimental at this stage in their lifespan, but the sheer breadth gets to be an albatross. Poking fun at '70s prog rock is just as easy as shooting at cement gargoyles on a suburban rooftop, especially when you're an indie kid or a fan of post-rock. But Sigur Rós makes Yes look like the Minutemen. Whittled down to 40 minutes, Von would be considerably more effective than it already is. As a mood setter, the 10-minute opening track really takes about three minutes to do what it needs, and a few other spots seem to drag on for the sake of sucking time. That doesn't prevent Von from being impressive, veering from Gavin Bryars-style aquatic minimalism to My Bloody Valentine-style dream pop. Varying states of isolationist ambience run throughout, whether evoking unrest or tranquil rest. You can practically envision a stray headboard floating through the Sinking of the Titanic-type passages, and the lush "Myrkur" comes from a planet where MBV's Kevin Shields and Kitchens of Distinction's Julian Swales are accorded the level or worship that Earth gives to Hendrix and Clapton. And then there's that voice, one of the most distinctly unintelligible voices since the Cocteau Twins' Liz Fraser. Boy? Girl? One would be hard-pressed to guess without liner notes. Based on pure sound, Von is just as much of a treat as the acclaimed follow-up.

Customer Reviews

Can't Get Enough of Sigur Ros

Incredible.

Not the Sigur Ros I Love

I own all of sigur ros's music but I found this one to be his worst album in fact it's the least listened to album of theirs I own. If your a super fan like me then buying it isn't going to stop you but it isn't really required in my opinion.

Biography

Formed: January, 1994 in Iceland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Named in part after a sister of one of the bandmembers, Reykjavik, Iceland's Sigur Rós (Victory Rose) was formed by guitarist and vocalist Jón Þór Birgisson (who later went by the name Jónsi), bassist Georg Holm, and drummer Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson. Formed in early 1994 while the members were teenagers, the trio's first recorded song earned them a deal with Iceland's Bad Taste label. Their sprawling debut LP, Von (Hope), was released in 1997, followed the next year by a collection of remixes from that...
Full Bio