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Sigur Ros
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( ) (2002)
( ) - Click to view!"Why do you listen to this stuff" My sister asked me one day as we were driving to the movies. A band called Sigur Ros was the "stuff" in question.

"Stuff?" I asked.

"Yeah, this is so depressing. You close your eyes and you see women wearing long black robes and too much eye makeup swaying like they are ill. It's extremely depressing."

"It's not depressing. You aren't supposed to close your eyes. You look at what is in front of you. The music makes the average everyday things become beautiful. So beautiful it's painful. But that isn't disgusting."

"Beauty isn't meant to be painful," she replied. After that, we bickered for a while about whether or not beauty could be painful.

Later, as I sat down to write a review of ( ), I realized that our little argument outlined the composition of Sigur Ros. This band from Iceland doesn't bother too much with words (indeed, with "( )" the liner notes are transparent sheets of paper with something akin to tree branches printed on them), but they speak volumes with breathtaking musical forms. Spine tingling pianos dance with bass lines, rising and falling, lifting you up to the heavens and taking you back down to earth. Your feelings are turned into putty, your attitude is molded by a person who will never know you, and it all comes from a few notes that are flowing out of your speakers. It's poetry in audio form, and it's painful.

Some have compared it to funeral music, and to be fair there are moments of rather morbid tones, but as a whole the music is more hopeful and joyous than melancholy. Still, it is not for the faint of heart; those who still think that Elvis is alive or those who hold no warm place in their hearts for rather moody things. ( ) is for the mellow, the odd, and the devoted listeners.

So can beauty be painful? Can music grip your soul? If you think so, check out Sigur Ros. You couldn't possibly be sorry.
- Melissa Miles
March 2003
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