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A religious experience that has to be seen to be believed 10/10 – by Thom Louis
I had not listened to Jonsi’s album before I saw him at Latitude and honestly I was expecting a Thom Yorke style strip down of Sigur Ros, what I got was something far far more than that. It was mesmerising, fun, beautiful and absolutely brilliant. The main difference between Jonsi and his band Sigur Ros is the addition of loud and clashing drums played by an Icelandic man who I could only assume was taking some sort of steroid. Not only was a large and varied drum kit present on stage but also the same assortment of instruments seen at a Sigur Ros gig. Glockenspiels, an organ, flutes and a piano were all present on stage as well as three willing members (including Jonsi’s boyfriend Alex) brought in to play these diverse instruments.
Something I discovered after the gig was that most of Jonsi’s solo work is in fact sung in English rather than Icelandic or Hopelandic (Jonsi’s invented language) as in Sigur Ros. Not that this made much of a difference. I was standing at the barrier and honestly I could not understand one word of English among the high pitched vocals and the wall of sound that Jonsi and his band created.
What really shocked me was Jonsi’s ability to create a genuinely beautiful experience but at the same time one that was catchy and fun. Songs like Go-Do the first single from Jonsi’s album Gowere brilliant because they were loud and you could be taken up by the rhythm and tribalism of the music. On the other hand songs like Grow Till Tall and Hengilas were ethereal and could only be stared at in wonder as these five men created something multilayered and genuinely religious.
I know this music is not everyone’s cup of tea but I am a massive fan of Sigur Ros and I don’t think Jonsi could have gone a better direction with his solo work. It was a genuinely enlightening experience, as close to musical nirvana as you can get and deserves full marks.