Jonsi - Go
You can never underestimate the power of Sigur Rós. Ask anyone who witnessed their Electric Picnic headline set two years ago; reports of folk actually crying in the front row seemed a little odd, a little amusing, but not really surprising. The man that leads that band - that's Jonsi Birgisson - sure knows how to pack an emotional punch, not least because of his unique vocal delivery.
Last year's 'Riceboy Sleeps' album, crafted with his artist partner Alex Somers, was arguably the best thing he's done in almost a decade - but still, it wasn't worlds apart from his 9-5. 'Go', his debut album proper, however, is unquestionably the most beat-driven thing the Icelander has done to date. Without a doubt, this sort of striking, fast-paced material suits Jonsi. Opener 'Go Do' sets us up for a thrill-a-minute musical journey, marrying sweet parps of flute with a rush of instrumentation so exuberant it'll lift you higher than a vat-load of Red Bull; 'Animal Arithmetic' is another tune led by beats and quickfire vocals, yet packed with melody and that unforgettable falsetto.
Yet it's not all thrills 'n' spills, despite that upbeat introduction. This is an album as beautifully weighted with orchestral songs that build to magnificent climaxes as it is with experimental, twinkling glitches and muffled static. Undoubtedly, it's the more uptempo numbers that get the blood racing, because it's a side of Jónsi that we've never quite seen before. 'Boy Lilikoi' is a particularly goosebump-raising, but so is the chunky, cello-addled hum of mellow closer 'Hengil'. There's a new Sigur Rós album due later this year - but if Jonsi continues to make music as appealing as this, they can extend that hiatus a little longer, if they really want to.
Review by Lauren Murphy | 09:00 | Friday 2nd April 2010 | Album Review
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