Stream the “Aggressive” New Album From Sigur Rós

Slate's Culture Blog
June 11 2013 5:17 PM

Stream the New Album From Sigur Rós

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Singer JónsiperformswithSigur Rós

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella

When Sigur Rós announced that it would be releasing a new album this summer, they described the new music as “more aggressive.” When they released lead single “Brennisteinn,” which opened with Inception-like braAAHMs and generally introduced a heavier, more metal-influenced sound, it became clear they weren’t kidding around. Since then the Icelandic band has also shared the dark title track “Kveikur” and a lyric video for “Ísjaki.” (The latter suggests that it’s perhaps more important to them than it used to be that their songs actually be understood.)

Now, the week before the album sees its proper release, you can stream it for free from Amazon. Not every track has the darker, noisier sound of a track like “Brennistein.” “Rafstraumur,” in particular, is closer to the lighter sound we’re used to from the band, with lead singer Jónsi’s falsetto soaring over strings, a bowed guitar, and a steady crescendo. “Var” mostly consists of a slow piano riff, sounding something like an instrumental version of “Untitled No. 1.”

Still, the noisier tracks predominate, with new elements like pitched-down vocals making occasional surprise appearances. For fans who’ve been waiting for the band to mix things up a bit, it’s a welcome change of pace.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer.