The opening section of "Glósóli," an emblematic effort by these idiosyncratic Icelanders, mates a deliberate tempo with vocal lines that sound as if they're being delivered by an especially chilly castrati. But before the tune can be dismissed as an intellectual variation on the recorded works of Enya, its initially subtle rhythms are joined by pounding guitars in a majestic maelstrom that ends like a dying storm.
And so it goes throughout Takk, a CD in which beauty and banality lie side by side. There's no denying the ambition of tracks such as "Saeglopur," which juxtaposes tinkling delicacy with choral ecstasy. Yet the album's pacing requires patience that may not pay off for every listener. Some are sure to enjoy this leisurely journey, while others will grow frustrated at the time it takes to reach rewarding destinations -- and each reaction is entirely justifiable.
In many ways, however, the vast gulf between these responses is a recommendation in and of itself. If interesting art should divide people, then the latest by Sigur Rós certainly qualifies.
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