Jónsi: Shiver (Krunk) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Oct 01, 2020 Jónsi Bookmark and Share

As a founding member of Sigur Rós, Jónsi Birgisson is something of a household name in experimental music circles. Over the past three decades, his band has gone on to become one of the most influential acts in the world. Their music transgresses numerous genres from ambient and post-rock to industrial noise.

Away from Sigur Rós, Birgisson’s work is similarly revered, and rightly so. Having embarked on several collaborations such as the two albums he’s recorded with partner Alex Somers (2009’s Riceboy Sleeps and last year’s Lost & Found) and the Dark Morph series with Carl Michael von Hausswolff to name but four, it was probably high time Birgisson brought out another solo record (released simply as Jónsi).

Shiver is the long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s Go. As with its predecessor, while the vocals are unmistakably recognizable, the musical accompaniments veer between tender piano orchestrated ballads and harshly processed beats. Recorded in numerous locations under the watchful eye of producer extraordinaire A.G. Cook—perhaps best known for his work with Charli XCX and as head of the record label PC Music—Shiver is a collection of songs that stretches back almost a decade, many of them left in the vaults but now revisited for Jónsi’s latest sonic excursion.

It’s a good job he did too, as there’s a smorgasbord of delights to whet the appetite here. Having deconstructed a lot of the original demos, Jónsi and Cook have conspired to create an album that’s expansive in sound, yet also rich in new ideas and techniques. From the moment opener “Exhale” draws the listener in, Shiver is a tentative and at times, breathtaking experience.

There are also noteworthy collaborations here. Swedish pop icon Robyn duets on “Salt Licorice,” a call and response anthem for the disenchanted set to opulent synthesizers and electronic beats. Before that, former Cocteau Twins vocalist Elisabeth Fraser lends her distinctive voice to the eerie “Cannibal” in similar fashion to her contribution to Felt’s “Primitive Painters” some 35 years ago. The results are unsurprisingly sensational.

Elsewhere, Shiver fuses trap beats with industrial interludes on the stormy “Kórall,” while the closing couplet of “Grenade” and “Beautiful Body” might just represent the most soothing finale to an album these ears have been exposed to all year. (www.jonsi.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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