Jonsi (of Sigur Ros) gets poppy

December 8, 2009

So it has been a while, I know, but without further excuses (or, better yet, none at all), I’m real excited by Jonsi’s (vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of Sigur Ros) new website jonsi.com. The last Sigur Ros album, Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust, was probably one of their weakest in their history (or I just haven’t listened to it enough, as their other albums, except maybe Takk…, took months for me to click with).

Earlier this year Jonsi, a.k.a. Jon Thor Birgisson, did a collaborative record with Alex Somers of Parachutes called Riceboy Sleeps, which was mostly an atmospheric, ambient work. It was nice for background noise or to fall asleep to, but that’s about all.

Now, Jonsi has teased us with the most straight-forward pop song of his career, and he sings in English. “Boy Liliko” opens subtley with soft, shimmering chimes and aching strings. It’s a familiar sound for fans of the Icelandic collective, but then Jonsi sings. Now that I have finally heard him sing in English, he sounds a bit like Jeremy Enigk (Sunny Day Real Estate). With the vocals, the music coheres into a driving, sweeping song held aloft by fluttering flutes, pounding drums and hyperactive strings. It’s so light, loud and lofty that it sounds like it belongs somewhere among the clouds.

You can download “Boy Liliko” for free from his site, through the link provided, and check out pictures and videos of the making of the album, which he has entitled Go.

I have high hopes for the accessibility of the album, but I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that it will have a true sense of the quirky creativity of Sigur Ros (by the video on jonsi.com of Samuli Kosminen, also of Sigur Ros, using a suitcase for percussion, I think there should be nothing to fear). Something nice and light from this band, even if it’s just a side project, would be welcome.

Adding to the hype, the manager for Sigur Ros sent out an email praising the work thusly:  “I think we are beginning to sense that maybe Jonsi has created something super special here. More than that in fact, I think he has created something really special here. I’m not sure I’ve felt this excited about a project since the time I first heard Agaetis Byrjun, right back in 1999. Holy fuck. Are you ready?”

He also shared the tracklisting:
Go Do
Animal Arithmetic
Tornado
Boy Lilikoi
Sinking Friendships
Kolnidur
Grow Till Tall
Around Us
Hengilas

(Copyright 2009 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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