sigur ros, the little band that could, have never courted popularity. the adventurous nature that spawned their brittle epics has cast them as anti-pop - which is why takk..., their first release for a major label, comes as such a surprise. at last, iceland's coolest sons have shattered their glacial reserve. wrapping strings and shuddering, tangled guitars around gorgeous piano melodies and icelandic lyrics, they have created a sweet stick of ethereal pop-rock.
the title track shimmers like shards of light hitting a still lake at dawn; glosoli sounds like someone wrenching himself from a glorious dream. hoppipolla sighs with the inquisitiveness of childhood, jonsi birgisson's falsetto enhancing the wonder. changes in mood and direction ensure that no song - most over five minutes long - ever gets dull. better yet, sigur ros's sudden accessibility doesn't tarnish their mystique, but deepens and colours it. radiohead, look and learn.