Sigur Rós’ 2005 breakthrough album ‘Takk’ – made famous by sound-tracking Planet Earth and footage of flowers flitting with the sunrise – remains the only album I listen to on planes. Wide-screen, weightless and completely ethereal, it’s sky music, as euphoric as it is heart breaking, as it reminds us of the world’s beauty and how insignificant our place in it is. There’s a reason Sigur Rós are featured on nature documentaries – their music sounds like it’s been made by whales. After 2008’s disappointing, more conventional ‘ Meo Suo í Eyrum Vio Spilum Endalaust’, ‘Valtari’ returns to ‘Takk”s sparse, cinematic make up.

It’s perhaps ever-so-slightly more ‘up’, but it’s no less evocative of life’s big questions, full of xylophone twinkles and swells of vocals sang in a mixture of Icelandic and the band’s own shrieking language. You’ll still not understand what Sigur Rós are saying, but the fact that it still seems to be very important indeed (and beyond words in any case) makes them, once again, as wondrous as the wild.

By Stuart Stubbs

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