Sigur Rós: "Glósóli"


By Dom Sinacola | 9 January 2008

Now that Godspeed’s well on their way to exclamation pointing themselves straight out of our hearts, the Rós — never shy of “the” ballbreaking crescendo but plagued by a pop familiarity to counterbalance gibberish and all kinds of histrionic hoohah — can quickly warm those of us desperate to find something immediately consuming in the ’05. This isn’t a revelation or a turning point for the band, and neither is Takk…, although the major label creative freedom should’ve proven otherwise. The way that Byrjun progressed to ( ) seemed to mirror that of a producer becoming more comfortable with studio theatrics, and in the same sense, Takk… is more of the same, pushed a bit harder.

So, lead single and lead song “Glósóli” is a perfect primer. Here, we find Jónsi cooing up oblivion’s spine while a bass drum carries him over marshland. Vocals are processed into the same gurgle as ( )’s opening lines, and the cello bow cradles the rest, never permitting the instrumental heft to sink into an algal morass. Structurally, three crescendos ground this safe, 6-minute marvel:

1. (1:58) After a music box twinkle, the vocals claw at something effortlessly high, cymbals crash, and every guilty pleasure about the band, every memory of a college groping, every soft cliché about prog whatever comes and cuddles against your chest.

2. (3:43) Percussion solidifies and careens into omen, then Jónsi repeats a nymphette falsetto so breathlessly that Nabokov simultaneously rolls over in his grave and pees himself.

3. (4:34) This is the one for the kids. Guitar squall, mayhem, the band moaning for their lives, the oceans unloading on every metropolis; take hallucinogens and the climax of this song will rip the third dimension right out of your reality, flattening your field of vision so a sun can rise at 11 in the morning. And through it all, a simple staccato riff emerges and directs the chaos to an inevitable, hollow silence.

It’s happy, the tracks have proper names, the Hopelandic is down to a minimum, and the single impetus behind Takk…’s 65 minutes is the expectation of swollen payoff. That said, “Glósóli” succeeds as the childish epitome of the glossy simplicity of ( ) or of Byrjun’s incredible epiphanies, honed and purified. More of the same, pushed a bit harder. Well, alright.