The Icelandic band’s 2008 performance at London's Alexandra Palace gives us a deeper look at their intricate way of captivating audiences. The band’s ethereal vocals and atmospheric guitar soundscapes are so bewitching that it makes you want to be there. Too late for that, but the two-CD, one-DVD set includes the movie version (which opens in San Antonio on December 2; see trailer below). Jónsi's vocals — hard to decipher unless you are savvy in Vonlenska, a self-made, non-literal language — and the songs themselves are basically identical to the studio versions, but his rare and dramatic falsetto still enraptures. Just like the cinematic experience (filmed in HD and transferred to 16 mm), the album paints Sigur Rós in black and white while contrasting their perfection through echos and delays. Supplying a grainy sound to many tracks, distortion takes the cake for adding any deviance from recordings. The long, suspenseful intro for opener “Svefn-G-Englar” sends us into a frenzy waiting for the first note, and listening to the entire set from beginning to end is almost overwhelming. The band’s set is technically flawless, but as cold as Iceland. Maybe it's one of those aesthetic “you had to be there” moments, a concert that needs to be seen rather than just heard. It all happened three years ago, but now we can still do both.
Inni, the movie, now showing at the Bijou at 7pm only.