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sigur roos make atmospheric music with lyrics in garbled icelandic, heavy on the strings and keyboards -- beautiful, but with enough presence to not devolve into new age wallpaper. radiohead cited sigur roos' 1999 agaetis byrjun as a major influence on their own sonic experimentations; when it was released in the states last year, americans got to discover the pleasures of melodies that sounded like they had floated into the room from another planet. this impressive follow-up sounds remarkably similar -- it's just packaged more pretentiously. for example, none of the songs have titles now. it's not as if "flugufrelsarinn" or "hjarta hamast (bamm bamm bamm)" tripped off the tongue, but they were certainly less prosaic than "track 4" or "track 6." (the standout here, by the way, is the epic "track 7.") similarly, the title of the record is an unpronounceable pair of parentheses -- if you want to ask for it by name, may we suggest agaetis byrjun 2: electric boogaloo?

(gavin edwards)



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