Sigur Rós, Avalon Hollywood, 8/11/05
Before a mix of industry types and fervent fans, Iceland’s Sigur Rós performed a rapturously received show Avalon Hollywood last Thursday, their first in L.A. since 2003. With countryladies Amina augmenting them on strings and keys, Sigur RÃ³s worked through a long show spanning their oeuvre, with Avalon’s best-in-town sound system rendering the dynamics of their sound with crystaline precision. As a live listening party of sorts for their new label Geffen Records, the set showcased many pieces from their forthcoming “Takk” LP. (You have to wonder what the major label that is home to Weezer and Papa Roach is after with signing them.) The newer material is thankfully no major departure from the musical language they have thus far established–elegant songs that drift, build, unfold, ascend, soar, explode, or [choose your own verb], usually layering strings over melodic arpeggios, lead singer JÃ³nsi’s hermaphroditic glissando weaving in and out of the miasma, while he coaxes a flood of reverberated sound from his guitar with a violin bow. The sound palette is broadened a bit on “Takk,” with moments both lighter and rawer than anything on their previous major releases, but it is always distinctly Sigur RÃ³s. Here’s to hoping these guys don’t ever feel the need to go all “Kid A” on us.