Eruptions of rainbows
The stunning photographs of the volcanic eruptions of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull last month share a resemblance to Jónsi’s solo release, Go: dramatic, colorful, powerful and grand. Icelander Jónsi, a.k.a. Jón Thór Birgisson, frontman for the on-hiatus Sigur Rós, provides audible evidence to hypothesize that everything from that island of ice must be beautiful. Except for maybe hákarl; consuming noxious fermented shark just sounds vile.
But not vile are Go’s nine tracks, on which Birgisson’s opted to sing in English mostly, vs. the fictional tongue of Hopelandic sometimes used in Sigur Rós. Collaborating with composer and arranger Nico Muhly, who also had his hand in Grizzly Bear’s disgustingly good Veckatimest, the largely upbeat and optimistic tracks consist of incredibly lush and layered orchestration. Sparkling keys and Birgisson’s distinctive falsetto drive the songs forward swiftly, along with vibrant strokes of strings or percussion, a calm pause, and crescendo into a bright pyrotechnic burst. As in “Boy Lilikoi,” the songs may flutter by as he claims the world does, but do the “Rainbow colours fade into brown” sonically? Not even close.