Home Read Albums Of The Week: Sigur Rós | Átta

Albums Of The Week: Sigur Rós | Átta

On their first LP in 10 years, the Icelandic post-rock trio inject some hopeful light into our existential darkness with expansive, lush orchestrations and ambient meditations.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sigur Rós have surprised fans with their first new studio album in 10 years. Titled Átta, the 10-track album is their most intimate and emotionally direct record to date.

Few bands cut through the noise and distractions of the world to bring you a pure elemental truth or feeling like Sigur Rós. As you hear on Átta, there’s a new compulsion and drive to the band that comes with the new formation of the line up. Multi-instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson is back in the fold — having left the band in 2012 — to join frontman Jónsi and bassist Georg Holm.

With just the three friends in a room, letting the mood speak to them, they found themselves “just wanting to have minimal drums and for the music to be really sparse, floaty and beautiful,” explains Jónsi. “We’re getting older and more cynical so I just wanted to move us so that we felt something!”

Sveinsson agrees: “We wanted to allow ourselves to be a bit dramatic and go far with these arrangements. The world needs that right now. It’s hard to describe, but for me everything is always open to interpretation. People can think and feel how they want.”


Photo by Tim Dunk.

Recorded across multiple continents — in the band’s Sundlaugin studio in Iceland, the legendary Abbey Road in the U.K. and a number of studios in the U.S. — Átta leans heavily towards the orchestral, and touches on everything that has made Sigur Rós one of the most ambitious and acclaimed bands of recent times, with close to 10 million albums sold, whilst signposting an exciting and expansive possibility for their future. Átta prominently features the London Contemporary Orchestra conducted by Robert Ames, alongside brass performed by longtime Icelandic collaborators Brassgat í bala. It is mixed and co-produced by another frequent collaborator, Paul Corley, alongside the band.

In a post-pandemic world torn apart by war, economic turmoil, culture wars, and brutally divisive discourse, Átta feels like a balming and unifying bond. “It’s what the music asked for and spoke for itself,” reveals Hólm. “This record sounds like a Sigur Rós album, but it’s more introverted than before. It’s very expansive with this sound of strings, but it looks within more than outside.”

For Jónsi too, both Sigur Rós and Átta exist purely in the moment — reflecting the times when we might need them most. “When we do this, we always talk about each album as if it might be the last,” he adds. “We’re always thinking about climate change, doom-scrolling and going to hell. The world felt a bit bleak making this album, but maybe there is hope. When there is darkness, there is light.”


Photo by Tim Dunk.