Youʼd be hard pushed to ﬁnd a debut live album more striking and impressive than ʻINNIʼ. Recorded over two nights at Londonʼs Alexandra Palace, this double-CD/DVD package is Sigur Rósʼ second live ﬁlm (following on from 2007ʼs ʻHeimaʼ), but, technically, their ﬁrst live album.
And it doesnʼt disappoint.
Opening tracks ʻSvefn-g-englarʼ and ʻGlósóliʼ set the tone for the whole of the ﬁrst disc, as they shift from gentle, understated melancholy into cacophonous swells of post-rock euphoria. And this state of constant movement is a recurring theme throughout the whole of this album. Unsurprisingly, ʻHoppípollaʼ is a highlight of CD 1, but it doesnʼt overshadow the rest of the disc - a real testament to the strength of the set as a whole. Other highlights, meanwhile, are more unexpected; from the sparse piano of ʻFljótavikʼ to the energetic bounce of ʻInní mér syngur vitleysingurʼ, there genuinely isnʼt a single weak track here.
Disc Two continues the feel of Disc One, opening with the gorgeous ʻSæglópurʼ, but it turns up the intensity as well. However, at times (such as during the climax of penultimate track ʻPopplagidʼ) the drawn-out, distortion-laden instrumentation disrupts the albumʼs ﬂuidity a little. Although it works in a live environment, itʼs a bit more to fully appreciate atmospheric post-rock wig-outs in your own bedroom. But these are rare and, occasional sluggish moments aside, it really is quite difﬁcult to ﬁnd anything wrong with either of the albumʼs two discs.
And while the accompanying live DVD, directed by Vincent Morisset (who also directed Arcade Fireʼs ʻMirror Noirʼ) isnʼt exactly suitable for light viewing, thereʼs no denying its artistic merits. Shot in black-and-white, it is intentionally intimate, intense and claustrophobic, as hinted at by the title ʻINNIʼ, which means ʻinsideʼ (apparently).
Sigur Rós really are the worldʼs ﬁnest when it comes to blissful, life-afﬁrming post-rock, and ʻINNIʼ serves as an powerful reminder of this. Every bit as dynamic as it is captivating, this is a live album that will appeal to more than just serious Sigur Rós completists.
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