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Sigur Ros Burns Through the Gloom

The music of Icelandic band Sigur Ros music has often been compared to the vast and dreamy landscape of their homeland. Its sound, sparse and yet sweeping, imparted visions of endless snowfields broken only by glaciers and the occasional volcano.

The fact that vocalist Jonsi Birgisson sings in a fanciful form of Icelandic -- and in an aching falsetto -- only made Sigur Ros' music the more ethereal to the group's legions of devoted fans. At its most extreme, the group's penchant for gloomy discursions and songs that went well into double-digits sometimes made them a taste for the initiated.

While Birgisson and his mates have ensured their art-rock status as they've evolved, their new songs show a resolve to burn through the gloom -- with horns, with strings, and with melody. Their efforts are also reflected in a new sense of conciseness, as several songs come in at less than five minutes long.

The band's latest CD is called Takk. An overt album name is a welcome return for many fans of this understated group, whose previous release had the unpronounceable title ( ).

Copyright 2005 XPN

David Dye
David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.