Sigur Rós Hvarf/Heim

Sigur Rós Hvarf/Heim
I guess this is as close to a b-sides and rarities release as these Icelandic masters of sound will come because, as the title suggests, this is two very different albums in one LP. The Hvarf part (roughly translated as "haven”) includes three previously unreleased songs, a re-recorded "Von” and a b-side from the Hoppipola single. While Heim, or "home,” is an acoustic concert that the band put on for family and friends last year, and includes some of the best songs from their current recorded output. No matter what the context, Sigur Rós fans will lap this up. Of the three unreleased songs, "Hljómalind” is the best, being both immensely powerful and pretty damn catchy, while b-side "Hafsol” will shake any speakers with its thundering climax. The acoustic renditions work quite well, with the oft heard "Starálfur” and sublime "Vaka” being particularly noteworthy. Sure, these are songs you’ve heard before but for anyone who’s ever seen Sigur Rós live, the songs are just the beginning. For a band that truly believe in the transformative power of music, each song allows for endless permutations. Super-fan or not, this, like everything else they do, sounds like nothing else on Earth. (XL)