Takk...

Studio Album by released in 2005

Takk... review

Sigur Ros is an unapologetically abstruse Icelandic art rock group of four Icelandic dudes who sing in a made-up language (Hopelandic) and write massive dreamscapes of songs. The fourth album from Sigur Ros was written, performed and produced by the band (along with co-producer Ken Thomas) at their studio in Alafoss, Iceland. Takk (Icelandic for "thanks") is allegedly Sigur Ros's mainstream album, since they now sing in Icelandic and are flirting with more cohesive song structures. It has singalong tunes and it even has track names. It is a warmer, more orchestral take on the band's defining sound, and easily their most instantly accessible record to date (shockingly, over a third of the album's songs clock in at under five minutes each.) The cheerless drones of () are replaced by more bass, drums, piano, horns, and samples, strings are more prominent than ever before, and Birgisson's lyrics are especially incidental, all barely-audible squeals and sighs. Mostly, this album is ecstatic, constantly erupting in funny little waves of joy. With Takk, Sigur Ros sound happy, but they're no less dramatic.

Glosoli is the record's shining center, a rapturous, tinkling swirl, with Birgisson's high, squeaky howls shooting through a thick, stomping mess of chimes and echoing guitar. The song builds slowly, finally bursting in a deafening explosion of heavily-distorted guitar slams (think, oddly, of Coldplay – particularly the end of A Rush of Blood to the Head's Politik). Glosoli manages to be both ethereal and concrete at the same time, which is Sigur Ros's most effective trick. Gong is all antsy drums and careering guitar, while the steamy Saeglopur tiptoes from piano and tinny glockenspiel to a breathtaking vocal harmony, and, finally, an ominous swell of full-band noise, just deep enough to inspire some vicious head-nods, if not full-hip dancing. Wrapping strings and shuddering, tangled guitars around gorgeous piano melodies and Icelandic lyrics, Sigur Ros have created a sweet stick of ethereal pop-rock. Changes in mood and direction ensure that no song ever gets dull. Better yet, Sigur Ros's sudden accessibility doesn't tarnish their mystique, but deepens and colors it.

Eight years after its debut album, Von, Sigur Ros is still an enigma. Not because it's from Iceland, or because it records in a converted swimming pool, or even because its major-label debut was sung in a made-up language and arrived sans song titles. The real mystery lies in the quartet's ability to continue using the formula it quite literally perfected on Agаеtis Byrjun to make albums that are just as intriguing, mysterious, and rewarding. Takk justifies every amazing claim ever laid at this exceptional band’s door. Huge and intimate, orchestral and gossamer-light, rich layered and essentially simple, it's the work of a band operating at the very top of their game. Takk is an instant classic and might well turn out to be Sigur Ros's masterpiece. Where it all goes from here even the band claim not to know. But following a record like Takk, Sigur Ros could pass into the annals of music legend. The delight for fans is in the expectation that there are yet further hidden wonders to be revealed by this most gifted and unconventional of bands.