Captivating as the frontman of Sigur Ros, Jonsi’s solo material was always going to generate a lot of interest. Back in early March we featured the first tracks available, ‘Go Do’ and ‘Boy Lilikoi’. Both were very promising, presenting a more commercial sound than we were used to with Sigur Ros, whilst retaining the bands ethereal qualities. A notable change in how Jonsi has worked on this record is that it is done almost totally in English, as opposed to Icelandic, or his made up vocals that he used on many records. His voice remains heavenly and unique throughout however, cutting straight to your emotional core.
The opening four tracks, including the two previously mentioned, are an excellent introduction, with ‘Animal Arithmatic’ an upbeat, pounding and positive track that carries huge momentum. ‘Tornado’ contrasts by being slow and atmospheric, with the kind of orchestral score we would expect to grace this album. With Nico Muhly providing the arrangements here, the songs reach great heights when joined by Jonsi’s amazingly high voice, with string compositions more prominent on ‘Grow Til Tall’ and ‘Hengilas’. Thunderous drums are present too, contributing to both ‘Animal Arithmatic’ and phenomenal penultimate track ‘Around Us’.
For Jonsi’s first fully English outing, the lyrics sound genuine throughout. Without trying to be too clever, the general message here is ‘make the most of your life’ and despite some lines seeming pretty straightforward and obvious, you can too easily get lost in the brilliant vocals to worry about it. The combination of the more accessible tracks such as single ‘Go Do’ with the powerful and high-flying masterpieces such as ‘Tornado’ makes for a brilliant album that looks at the world with wide-eyed wonderment, and tells us of all the amazing things.