Music: Jonsi * * * *
Jónsi Birgisson is best known as the remarkably singular singer from Sigur Rós, noted for his falsetto voice, playing his guitar with a cello bow and singing in Hopelandish, basically an Icelandic gibberish that was hilarious lampooned in an Eyebrowy sketch.
In January, Sigur Rós announced a hiatus to facilitate a series of solo projects and spend some quality time with their families, as several band members just had children. True to his word, Jónsi is first out of the traps with his solo debut, a lush collection that makes the somewhat radical departure of singing decipherable lyrics, some of which are even in English.
Sigur Rós's brand of intricate, classical-inspired post-rock still has no equals and Jónsi doesn't alter the script too much, apart from a little more minimalism. Initially conceived as a solo acoustic album, the involvement for Philip Glass's protégé Nico Muhly, who has sprinkled his sonic gold dust on albums by Bjork, Antony Hegarty, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Grizzly Bear, considerably brightens up the proceedings to deliver a beautiful and uplifting record.
Around Us explodes with celestial melodies and is one of several standouts that refreshingly lack some of the reverential bombast that comes with Sigur Rós. They've always been a band apart, but with Go, Jónsi confirms his richly deserved status as a singer apart.
Burn it: Around Us; Go Do; Hengilás