Sigur Rós usually personify the term inaccessible. The music fluctuates between mellow ambient, powerful post-rock, and lush soundscapes, all accompanied with Jón þor (jónsi) Birgisson’s beautifully piercing falsetto, singing hymns in his choice of Icelandic or hopelandic (a self-made hybrid of nonsensical blabberings, English, and Icelandic). With með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, the latest from the avant-garde Icelandic clan, they have eased up quite a bit, to the point where the music only brushes the realm of inaccessibility. I mean, we still don’t know what the hell they are talking about, but as far as the music goes, it retains characteristics of pop, including melodies that do not sound like radio waves picked up from another planet. Take the album’s single “Gobbledigook,” which has louder than usual acoustic guitar strums, an almost catchy melody, and a “There, There”-like rhythm section to carry it. I think this is the most upbeat and loud this band has been in quite some time, and right off the bat too, as opposed to their usual steady climactic unveiling of noise. Of course, there still is plenty of that (“Ára bátur”, where slowly overpowering strings and choir-like vocals take hold), but it is more evenly distributed and varied. A new direction for the Sigurs, less mood building space exists on the record.
As a whole, the album is enjoyable, but not as gut-wrenchingly mesmerizing as their previous works. The incorporation of simpler song structure, catchier melodies, and more condensed songs makes for an easier listen, whilst retaining the lush sounds that have always characterized Sigur Rós. It is certainly much more than a buzz in our ears and the ‘songs’ that Sigur Ros have created on their latest are beautiful enough that if they did, like the title suggests, play endlessly, it would not be the worst thing in the world.