'Hoppípolla', taken from Sigur Rós's most highly acclaimed album to date, 'Takk…', is to be re-released by EMI Records on May 1. It has been inescapable to notice that 'Hoppípolla' is currently being used to trail the BBC's highly successful natural history series, Richard Attenborough's Planet Earth. This high profile exposure has sparked an upsurge of interest from the general public about the track whilst also helping it shoot straight back onto the playlists of Radio 1 (Jo Whiley's 'Record Of The Week' no less…), XFM and Capitol.
'Hoppípolla' is hands down the most commercial thing Sigur Rós have ever recorded. At just over 4 minutes long, it is also the only song anything like radio programmable they've ever put their name to. Starting with a simple and pretty piano motif, 'Hoppípolla' proceeds to layer slightly warped backwards string loops with beautiful real 'forward' strings to slowly construct a feeling of awesome well-being, surging on a tide of pure psychedelic pop euphoria.
Singer Jon Thor Birgisson adopts a slightly lower register than his usual full-on falsetto, weaving an open and childlike sense of hope through multi-layers of carefully constructed vocals, while he sings (in Icelandic) about nosebleeds and jumping into puddles. As the song expands to a grand and dizzying climax, brass begins to fanfare and an orchestra swells and flourishes, while all about tinkly things twinkle brightly.
The Wire magazine recently derisively referred to 'Takk…' as “the indie last night of the proms”. 'Hoppípolla' is what they were talking about, but from where we're sitting that seems like an awesome and overwhelming thing. Remember avant-garde is French for bullshit. 'Hoppípolla' is spectacular, and, according to the heads who run the band's fansite, “the best thing they've ever done” – and, believe me, these people know a thing or two about that.
'Með Blóðnasir', one of the additional tracks here, is also featured on 'Takk…'. It sits beautifully on the LP as the tail end of 'Hoppípolla' and so works perfectly as part of this release. Originally recorded on the band's 1998 debut album 'Von', 'Hafssól has taken on near mythic significance with the band's fans thanks to a magical live rendition that bears scant relation to the experimental original.
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