Mandel is drunk. Horribly drunk.
What started out as a night with creative intentions has quickly descended into deep and drunken depravity topped off with the bitter taste of disillusion. As I watch him in a drunken stupor gorge on a box of chips and mumble slanted rum fused philosophy into the night, I decide to put on Sigur Ros’ new album Kveikur.
Much has been made about the more metallic sound (compared to their usual ambient mystique) of this new album and sure enough opener ‘Brennisteinn’ certainly has that feel to it. It oozes and grinds in a machine like stomp and engaged me right from the off.
But this music doesn’t feel so far away from the Sigur Ros everyone knows and loves. To me it feels like a natural progression. It has the same intensely crafted Sigur Ros soundscapes just with an added grit.
Sigur Ros have always made great sounds and this album is no exception. Whether it be the trumpets at the end of ‘Hrafntinna’ or the haunted castle grind of ‘Kveikur’ or the sadness of the piano in ‘Var’.
‘Var’ is wonderful. As it plays I start to disappear into myself. Disappear into that rainbow coloured labyrinth of my mind; to wonder around its strange halls. Oh look, there goes a seven year old me whizzing past on my first bike being followed closely by a giant caramel shortcake loping along on spindly legs.
And what’s this now – a disco? The magician from my 6th birthday is slumped over in the corner, a Dead Shark from a forgotten French beach is on the decks and Mrs Loines, my psychotic primary school teacher, is dominating the dance floor, her body contorting and twisting to the sounds of ABBA’S ‘Mama Mia’ ‘So I made up my mind it must come to an end, look at me now will I ever learn…’ Memories… All trapped in these hideous halls. I must come back more often.
A retching sound brings me back to consciousness. Mandel is throwing up in my bathroom. I hear the splash and slop of the chips hitting the toilet bowl. ‘Goodbye Mr Chips!’ I think sadly. I hear the faint cry of ‘Freedom!’ before the flush sounds. Oh Mandel when will you learn? Well those chips will never be bothered by your stinking chops again!
With Kveikur, Sigur Ros have stitched another segment on to their already well-worn and well-loved musical tapestry and unlike in Bayeux, no one lost an eye in the process.