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Sigur Rós @ Merriweather Post Pavilion – May 25th 2017

Sigúr Ros @ Merriweather Post Pavilion 2017

Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós has, for their two decade-long career, defied easy description. Resting somewhere in the space between pop, experimental rock, ambient, and sometimes even classical music, the group creates soundscapes which evoke images of other places and of alien worlds. The band released their most recent album, Kveikur, in 2013, the same year that the departure of long-time keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson turned them into a three-piece. The band, which was largely silent for a couple of years after that, toured North America last fall and then returned again this spring for another run of shows, including one at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

In their touring last fall, the band introduced two new songs to their setlist, “Á” and “Óveður.” While there still hasn’t been any announcement of a new release forthcoming, the band has added two additional new songs, “Niður” and “Varða.” The rest of the set drew from several of their previous albums, particularly from 2002’s (), from which four tracks were drawn, “E-Bow,””Dauðalagið,” “Vaka,” and “Popplagið.” Other highlights included “Starálfur” and “Ný Batterí” from 1999’s Ágætis byrjun, “Glósóli” and “Sæglópur” from 2005’s Takk…, and the title track from 2013’s Kveikur.

The show was plagued by unfortunate sound issues during the first half, particularly from bass overdriven to the point of distortion which served to drown out many of the more subtle elements of the group’s sound. Fortunately it was fixed after the intermission, and the second half of the show went much more smoothly. The band has often performed in the past with additional supporting musicians such as the Icelandic string quartet Amiina and sometimes even a full orchestra (in 2013, they had an eleven-piece touring band), but for this tour they have kept it stripped down to the three core members. The resultant more sparse arrangements served to highlight the core of the songs.

Recent promises of a major announcement from the band culminated in the revelation of a four-night residency at Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík in December.

Sigur Rós

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