Sigur Rós: Ágætis byrjun - A Good Beginning - 20th Anniversary Edition (Krunk) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Sigur Rós

Ágætis byrjun - A Good Beginning - 20th Anniversary Edition

Krunk

Aug 06, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


That the title of this second album by Sigur Rós translates to "a new beginning" is very appropriatefor while it was preceded in 1997 by debut full-length Von, that record was essentially made by a different band. It was this effort, thenreleased two years laterthat set the Icelandic post-rock outfit on the path to both fame and universal critical acclaim, and which dictated the direction of the sound they would come to be known for.

While, ultimately, the band would truly perfect their art with 2002's third album, ( ), two decades later, Ágætis Byrjun remains a spectacular achievementone still as startling and groundbreaking today as it was when first released. Thanks to the likes of "Svefn-g-englar" (probably still the band's best-known song), "Olsen Olsen," and the title track, this is an album which soars and floats with a beauty that's as sorrowful as it is life-affirming, as magical as it is emotional. Nothing has been diminished in the intervening years.

This anniversary reissue does, however, reveal some of the process behind that magic. In addition to a booklet that reflects on the story and legacy of the album, and also offers a track-by-track guide to the songs, there are three bonus discs here with a full concert from 1999 as well as a selection of rarities that includes early demos and alternative versions of some of the album's songs. The highlight of these is the startlingly delicate, slower original version of "Starálfur," but both the concert and the rare tracks offer an insight into how this band truly came into their own for the very first time.

What's moreunlike some album reissueseverything gathered here feels essential, rather than just being a collection of material super-fans will get excited about briefly and then forget all about. As such, this reissuewhich comes in a package as gorgeous as the music itselfserves as a worthy monument to a spectacular album that continues to transcend time, space, and genre in a way that only Sigur Rós are able to do. (www.sigurros.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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