Sigur Rós Takk…

Perhaps more than any other major label act, Sigur Rós have made the best case for music as art. Highly emotive, they tackled beauty with Agaetis Byrjun, sadness with ( ) and now happiness with Takk… However, joy is a tricky emotion to capture; what helps Sigur Rós is the inaccessibility, or incomprehensiveness, of their lyrics. De Motherlant said that happiness "writes white,” but with joy, music trumps words. It is conceivable that Sigur Rós’s choruses consist of vocalist Jonsi Birgisson singing "pull my finger,” but they still sound rapturously blithe. On Takk…, Birgisson’s voice is wisely ubiquitous, sprouting like a recrudescent flower, melding with string cadences, soliciting attention or proclaiming happiness. There may be other singers with greater range of pitch, but not greater range of evocation and emotion. This isn’t to say that each song is a boner and a sundae. There’s much aimless sprawling between "Hoppipolla” and "Soeglopur” — the two emotional summits of the album — before tapering off into an amorphous wheeze. But that’s just as well, since the first 40 minutes are so pleasantly exhausting. (Geffen)