Steve Kilbey is best known as the frontman of Australian legends the Church, whose “Under The Milky Way” was one of the defining alt-rock singles of the late ’80s. He has also released records with the likes of Grant McLennan, Martin Kennedy and Donnette Thayer, as well as a number of solo albums. Aside from being a member of the Australian Songwriters Hall Of Fame, Kilbey pens poetry and is an accomplished painter. His latest CD is Life Somewhere Else (Communicating Vessels) by Isidore, a collaboration with Jeffrey Cain (Remy Zero). Kilbey will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.
Kilbey: Taking rock music to some kind of logical extreme is Sigur Rós from Iceland. Dispensing with intelligible lyrics altogether, they are all feeling; they are all emotion. Like a line back into some pre-consciousness before language solidified, when things were more fluid and epiphanies more easily perceived. Sigur Rós inhabits a wondrous soundscape, constantly trembling upon the verge of a miracle or some holy ecstasy; the sound is like one big conglomerate of nascent joy, sometimes simple, sometimes complex.
The voice, strings and guitar join up in a swirl of glorious neo-symphonic power and mysterious glimpses of Scandinavian landscapes and long lost memories. Sigur Rós are gorgeous, strange and spiritual. The only immediate precursor that comes to mind is Bowie on the second side of Low. He, too, approached this kind of teutonic esoterica, as he wordlessly expressed some ineffable meta-emotions too deep or subtle for language.
However ignoring all that, it’s nice just to sit back and let Sigur Rós wash over you, anytime you need a fix of beauty.
Video after the jump.