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q (ágætis byrjun)

invented languages, huge soundscapes, orchestras, scandinavia...

resident in the icelandic charts for over a year now, this record has been as eagerly awaited by cognoscenti as anything in years. the reason, largely, is 1999's svefn-g-englar; a track of awesome, austere beauty moving at glacial speed which could be described, without a whiff of hyperbole, as the last great record of the last millennium. sigur rós' second album proper features this astonishing opener and 10 others which, while surprisingly diverse, each reflects their penchant desire for apocalyptic serenity, overdriven guitars and teenage singer jónsi birgisson's unique hopelandish language. the odd rockist mannerism aside, this wonderful band seem to belong as much to the 8th century as the 21st. **** (out of five)

(stuart maconie)




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