Coming from Iceland probably helped Sigur Ros become popular on these shores. It's hard to think their brand of made up languages and semi-classical soundscapes would have been quite so well have received if they had come from Colchester, for example. As it happened 'Agaetis Byrjun' was a strong album; remarkably confident and apocalyptic in vision for a debut vision. The follow up makes another bid which could have seen them accused of pretentiousness; there are no track titles. It is split into two halves; the first is the calm, the second represents the storm. Yet themes are repeated, with the lyric of the hymnal first track being repeated throughout the album. The second is more blissed-out and the third sees a gentle piano piece slowly being swallowed by a gradually swelling orchestra; never quite expanding into a full on frenzy and is all the better for it. The second half sounds more like an attempt to dethrone Godspeed You! Black Emperor as improvised instrumental behemoths. Drums are pitched high into the mix with searing guitar. It's stirring stuff (particularly at the finale as what sounds like a dying cry is heard above the storm) but it does sound a bit second hand now. Sigur Ros then, better at being dreamy than nightmarish.