Sigur Rós Takk…

[Geffen; 2005]

Styles: experimental rock, post-rock, space rock, dream pop, space rock
Others: Radiohead, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mum

Keith Kawaii: Takk probably won't ruin any fan's love for Sigur Rós. But I might as well play devil's advocate here. There's one thing about the band that I didn't really notice, or mind, much before this album, and that's the lack of harmonic variation. Takk is pretty, with an inevitable abundance of saccharine melodies soaked in color chords and cloudy ambience. Is it ok if I use the word 'glacial'? Well, I shouldn't have expected any different. It's Sigur Rós for the love of christ. The problem is, every time one of their life-affirming crescendos starts to kick in, I keep wishing for a crunchy patch of dissonance to save me from the repetition.

Mr P: I agree with you; someone needs to buy Sigur Rós a wrench. Although the songs on Takk can be quite 'moving,' it's getting harder to be convinced that these harmonic progressions are life-affirming at all. With such unrelenting emotional outpouring, I wonder how much is written through inspiration and how much is simply 'going through the motions.' Perhaps I'm a bit jaded on the Sigur Rós formula, but the limited harmonic variation also limits my reaction as a listener. It's hard to feel anything when you realize what you're 'supposed' to feel like. That said, it's not often a group can pull off this overwrought music without sounding completely derivative. Sigur Rós are still significant, but Takk sounds safe to me. I actually enjoyed their Ba Ba tangent.

Keith Kawaii: So we both agree, eh? You know, I would say the Rós are losing personal relevance to us, more than they are losing their musical edge. The point being that, aside from a few overtly 'poppy' moments on the new album, nothing much has changed in the harmonic territory. Maybe in 50 years we'll all look at this kind of impressionistic rock like we do 12 bar blues. It's the formula I've got beef with, so is superimposing that scruple onto a band's vision fair? All complaints considered, Takk is probably their most complete and well-produced album. When taking each song individually, well, some work better than expected and some just seem pointless. After a few listens, I've started mentally dividing the the tracks into 'necessary' and 'unnecessary' categories. Fun, right? For example, I find "Glósóli" and even the sugar coated "Hoppipolla" necessary steps in Sigur Rós' musical... um... journey. A song like "Saeglopur" just seems to go through the motions, like you mentioned.

Mr P: Yeah, I wouldn't necessarily say they've lost their musical edge ("Glósóli" serves as a nice testament), but its Takk's slight inhibition that keeps me in my seat. Of course, there's nothing wrong with Sigur Rós settling in to a sound they enjoy playing ”” it's not our job to tell them how to write songs ”” plus, they have definitely mastered the tonal world they've created. I can't help but listen in awe during the climactic moments on the album, no matter how predictable they may be. But I guess mastery and refinement aren't that interesting to me, personally. I do think, however, that Sigur Rós' sound after this album will start shifting toward a new direction, especially because the string quartet they play with, Anima, are heading off on their own musical career. Consequently, Sigur Rós will have the choice of trying to replace them or trying to work without them. In either case, despite our meticulous gripes, I think Takk makes for an ultimately satisfying end to their work with Anima (their importance is shown in "Andvari" and "Sé Lest"), and I can only imagine that these songs will sound much better in a live setting.

Keith Kawaii: Right on, brother.

1. Takk...
2. Glósóli
3. Hoppípolla
4. Meo Blódnasir
5. Sé Lest
6. Saeglopur
7. Milanó
8. Gong
9. Andvari
10. Svo Hljótt
11. Heysátan