Meaning ‘With A Buzz In Our Ears We Play Endlessly’, this latest album from Icelandic Emperors of post-rock Sigur Rós, sees the band take their music in a much more pop influenced direction, tossing out their chaotic wall of sound style, favouring slow paced ballads and pop ditties.
Jónsi’s vocals have pulled forward from their more instrumental role in past albums, and I think this has left their sound lacking the cohesion that made their songs so sensually overwhelming.
Co-produced with legendary producer Flood (NIN, U2, Smashing Pumpkins), With A Buzz… is the first album of the band’s career to be recorded outside of Iceland, and features the bands first song to be written entirely in English (All Alright). Now Flood is obviously a fantastic producer, but I can’t help but feel he has somehow tainted the band. Where the other albums sounded organic and natural, With A Buzz… sounds manufactured, rather than born.
Listen to songs like Hoppipolla or Olsen Olsen and then compare them to any of the songs on With A Buzz… and it’s undeniable the band has lost their impact somehow.
It is not a bad album; in fact it is an amazing album. Points such as the end of Festival see Sigur on top of their game, but the album lacks the consistency that is so essential to the band. From the moment you hit play on a Sigur Ros album, you should be whisked off to a kingdom of whimsy, and With A Buzz… just isn’t as transporting and transcendent.