Today, we’re continuing yesterday’s Icelandic theme with NPR’s first look at the new Jónsi album Go. Jónsi is, of course, Jon Thor Birgisson, the singer from Sigur Rós. I’ve long loved and admired Sigur Rós’ towering, immersive soundscapes. Sonic architecture that can hit with the fury of a primal scream – or a gentle breeze – and leave you profoundly changed just the same. And so, for obvious reasons, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Go‘s release.
And man, does it ever live up to expectations! The first two tracks – “Go Do” and “Animal Arithmetic” are so joyful, and so playful, that I almost had to make sure I was playing the right album. Of course, by the time the album’s gorgeous third track – “Tornado” – rolls around, everything becomes perfectly clear. Jónsi’s voice continues to soar here, as it does throughout the album – occasionally diving and weaving through brass, woodwinds, chimes, and assorted other bits of orchestral ephemera. The album has such an enthusiasm, and an intensity of purpose, that it’s almost impossible to imagine it stripped down to anything less than a philharmonic.
On a side note, and as a long time fan, it’s really exciting to hear so much English on Go. (Granted, I have a degree in Old Norse, and have studied Icelandic, but still…) I do love me some Hopelandic, but I find Jónsi’s choice here to be quite daring.
If you’ve been on the fence about Sigur Rós, or haven’t really connected with their music, I strongly encourage you to try Go. It’s epic, exuberant, and beautiful (especially the album’s crisp, penultimate track: “Grow till Tall”). If it doesn’t brighten your day, then I’d urge you to kindly stay away from Whoville.
Follow me to listen to the album…
Continue reading “First Listen: Jónsi – Go”