Sigur Ros: “( )”. On their majestic new album, the Icelandic rock orchestrators use maybe a dozen syllables in a made-up language. Fans vote on the translation. [Salon.com]

In 2001, Iceland’s Sigur Ros made a splashy debut — a cover profile in the New York Times Magazine, a minor bidding war among major labels, and the first annual Shortlist Prize for Music, all spurred by their first album to be made available in the U.S., “Agaetis Byrjun.” The attention was all the more surprising when you consider that the band’s songs are mostly eight-minute dirge-tempo epics, complete with strings, bowed electric guitar, and a lead singer who wails in his own made-up language, “Hopelandish”.

Now Sigur Ros are back with their follow-up record, which is officially untitled but universally referred to as “( )” after the die-cut symbols on the CD’s cover. “( )” follows the “Agaetis Byrjun” model of building beautiful crashing waves of sound underneath Jonsi Thor Birgisson’s arresting falsetto. Sigur Ros’ strange, ethereal music would be equally at home in a new-age spa and in your craggiest, iciest nightmares; it’s like the bastard offspring of Enya and Radiohead.

Now Playing: Untitled 4 from the album “( )” by Sigur Rós

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