Sigur Ros - With a Buzz in Our Ears, We Play Endlessly


There is no other band that can make you feel more inadequately human than Sigur Ros. Their post-rock, shoegazing songs are like hymns, as if they are not humans themselves, but angels playing God's music. They leave you feeling small, like a god-fearing child. Other post-rock bands don't seem to have this effect. Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky make you feel more than human, as if you alone can take on the world. With Sigur Ros, their powerful, ethereal sound has the opposite effect. Their sound is so large and grandiose that it makes you feel as small as a grain of sand. You hear Jonsi's voice, the string arrangements, the bowed guitars, all reverberated and shot into your ears like a drug and you are immediately disarmed and vulnerable. You fall weak at the sound of Sigur Ros. You are mortal while they are immortal. They don't live on Earth, but float in space like celestial beings, while you are merely human.

On their fifth full-length, With a Buzz in Our Ears, We Play Endlessly, these cloud dwellers briefly curb their atmospherics with a surprising and very much rewarding twist. Although the bulk of the album flows into the shoegazing crevasses that only Sigur Ros has carved out, the first two tracks (delightfully) come out of nowhere. "Gobbledigook" offers a bit of quirky panache, which is far from their style but, somehow, Sigur Ros manages to pull it off, sounding something like Animal Collective a la Sung Tongs. When the song's heartbeat percussion and staccato acoustic guitar chords combine with Jonsi's innocently impish vocals, the song becomes a fairy tale of sound. The flittering la la la's and handclaps are the sprites and nymphs that carry you off to yet another world that Sigur Ros has created. On the second track, "Inni mer syngur vitleysingur," the divine symphony is overjoyed. For a moment, we get to crash Sigur Ros' party, a celebration of the gods. Horns and pianos, of both the grand and toy variation, welcome us through the gates into Sigur Ros' playground up in the clouds. The chorus is superbly arranged with backing vocals layered in at just the right moments and when the chorus runs through the first time, a string arrangement rises up is as beautiful as those found on "Staraflur."

The remainder of the album is quite similar to ( ), which is certainly not a disappointment. But, overall, WABIOEWPE is more appealing due to "Gobbledigook" and "Inni mer syngur vitleysingur." They show that the band can be upbeat, but still maintain the angelic sound that has separated them from every other band. No other band is as humbling as Sigur Ros. Their sound is paralyzing. It is spiritual. It absorbs the oxygen around you and leaves you breathless. Sigur Ros is a band of angels and we are all just humans.

- Caleb Morairty

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