Sigur Rs, with Amina

Since Iceland's Sigur Rs ("Victory Rose") broke and entered into America's heart with the rerelease of their sophomore offering, Agaetis Byrjun, back in 2001, they've become more than just a band that makes beautiful rock music. Though there's much to be enjoyed in the four-piece band's shimmering strings and velvety piano touches, it's the imaginative, engaging, made-up Hopelandish language (essentially a series of stretched-out syllables and lulling coos) that gives the music its drastic, emotional moodiness. Through this indecipherable dialect, Sigur Rs tells stories that can't be understood literally but can be quite evocative when coupled with their incredibly lush music.

"We've seen people actually singing along to these songs," says bassist Georg Holm. This despite the audience's having little knowledge of what they're saying, exactly. Holm continues, "People seem to be really understanding and feeling what the songs are about." Last year, on their fourth release, Takk, singer and guitarist Jon Thor Birgisson stepped away from Hopelandish and settled on his native tongue, though English speakers are unlikely to decipher much of a difference. The similar tones of the two languages both have the power to either capture your attention or send you off to slumberland. Holm says the language barrier between the band and non-Icelandic speakers isn't what's holding them back from mainstream American audiences. "You could say it's a language barrier," he says, "but it's musically rather than verbally."

With the aid of Icelandic string quartet Amina, who have been playing with Sigur Rs on record and on the road for five years, the band's live show is a unique and intimate experience.

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Travis Ritter