Sigur Ros 'excited' to reunite after four-year break

  • 1 May 2012
  • From the section Music
Sigur Ros

Their song Hoppipolla is among the most well-known on television. It's been used on the BBC's Planet Earth series, World Cup football coverage and even The X Factor.

But the band behind the track are much less recognisable.

Icelandic group Sigur Ros are returning after a four-year break with a new album and festival dates including Bestival 2012.

"It's kind of like coming back home in a way," says front man Jonsi Birgisson.

"It's really fun to meet the guys again."

'Stopping and starting'

Since the release of their most recent studio album in 2008 Jonsi has built a solo career while the other three have all focussed on family commitments.

"When you're by yourself there's so much more responsibility," says Jonsi. "You have to make all the decisions yourself.

"Now I have the other guys with me to share the responsibility, make decisions and give creative feedback."

The Icelandic four-piece have been working on their sixth studio album on and off for about six years.

They said in 2010 that they had "chucked away" their work so far, announcing an "indefinite hiatus".

But their new release Valtari finally comes out in May and includes some tracks that go as far back as 2002. They're planning more UK shows in 2013.

'Darker'

"We had it in the back of our brain to do this kind of album for many years but we've never done it," explains Jonsi.

"There's been a lot of stopping and starting and it's been confusing. It's quite scatter-brained I think."

Valtari was recorded in a converted indoor swimming pool near Iceland's capital Reykjavik and mixed in Jonsi's attic with the help of his boyfriend Alex Somers.

The eight tracks, including the first single Ekki múkk, mark a change in direction for the band.

"I think this is definitely a left turn," says 37-year-old Jonsi, who has become known for using a cello bow on guitar and for his high-pitched singing voice.

"It's definitely more sombre, sadder and darker than the two previous albums."

All the songs are recorded in Icelandic. There is no sign of Vonlenska, a sort of musical language that the band created for earlier albums.

"We've kind of left it behind," he says. "I think at least where I am now, it's more exciting for us to have lyrics."

But Sigur Ros will be returning to old favourites such as Hoppípolla for their live shows.

"We haven't played together for four years because we've been on a big break so it is fun - and funny - to start playing again. It's going to be exciting."

Valtari will be released on 28 May.