- Personnel: Slrn Sumarlidadttir, Maria Huld Markan Sigfsdttir (strings); S. Sigurtarson, S.J. Samelsson, I.G. Erlendsson, Stefdn Jn Bernhardsson, Emil Fridfinnsson (brass); Sunray and Breeze, Sggi Friendi, Haddi Gunni, John McClanian Best Jr. (tambourine).
- Audio Mixer: Flood .
- Recording information: Assault And Battery, London, England (01/2008-04/2008); Egrem Studio, Havana, Cuba (01/2008-04/2008); EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England (01/2008-04/2008); Kjartan's Living Room (01/2008-04/2008); Langholtskirkja (01/2008-04/2008); Sear Sound Studios, New York, NY (01/2008-04/2008); Sundlangin, Alafoss, Iceland (01/2008-04/2008); Sundlavjin (01/2008-04/2008).
- Photographer: Ryan McGinley.
- Sigur Ros's fifth studio full-length, MED SUD I EYRUM VID SPILUM ENDALAUST, begins with such a tour de force of orchestral pop in the first half, listeners will recall Brian Wilson's self-describing "teenage symphonies to God." Pilfering from both the Arcade Fire--see the rousing second track "Inni Mer Syngur Vitleysingur"--and Animal Collective--see the lead-off single "Gobbledigook"--in equal measure, the Icelandic quartet create a masterwork that weds their soaring bombast to near-conventional pop structures and adds an experimental joy to their normally somber obsessiveness. The latter half of MED SUD is more in line with their previous effort, TAKK..., with more lived-in textures and slower paces, but after the poppy first half, the change is welcome. The album was recorded in a house in Reykjavik by Flood, who finds the same hooks and sweeping passion here that he did over two decades before engineering U2's THE JOSHUA TREE.
Spin (p.111) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[S]wapping ethereal splendor for tighter songcraft....The group's dynamic new sound surges with rapid-fire la la las."
CMJ - "Their signature joyous orchestrations and epic crescendos are still intact..."
Q (Magazine) (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[They] give each track its own distinct character. Thus we've two three-minute 'pop songs', acoustic folk, a soaring rock ballad and the tree-thumping Ewok-techno madness that is 'Gobbledegook'..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.103) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "There's still some beautifully glacial music....But now, occasionally, the Arctic exploration party becomes simply a party. The opening 'Gobbledigook' is almost acoustic happy hardcore..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.72) - Ranked #17 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[R]esonating with a celestial majesty."
Paste (magazine) (p.68) - "[T]he group colors outside of well-established lines this time around, pounding on tribal drums during 'Gobbledigook,' smearing swaths of mellotron across 'Fljotavik' and 'Straumnes,' and pulling back on its patented reverb in favor of crisp, clean lines."
Pitchfork (Website) - "[T]hey deliver plenty of moments where they sound more spirited, looser, almost playful."