For more than a decade, Sigur Rós (Victory Rose) has been one of the most popular bands to come out of Iceland and has created their own brand of post-rock, ambient music that has attracted an international following. Consisting of four members Jon Thor Birgisson (guitar/vocals), Georg Holm (bass), Kjartan Sveinsson (keyboards) and Orri Pall Dyrason (drums), Sigur Rós became one of the most critically-acclaimed bands of the late '90s, bringing a wholly unique sound to the rock scene. The band is renowned for its use of bow guitar, a combination of electric guitar and a violin bow that creates dynamic sonic effects. Combining lead singer Birgisson's falsetto vocals and guitar mastery, heavy reverbs and overall airy feel, Sigur Rós rode a tidal wave of positive press to become one of the most popular acts on tour today.
After the success of their first EP Von, the band released their first platinum album Ágætis Byrjun. The album received plenty of accolades throughout Iceland and gained an American audience when many of the songs were featured in the Cameron Crowe film, Vanilla Sky. The single, "Svefn-g-englar," was the first track to be distributed outside of Iceland, and quickly helped the band break out and become international stars. The band became a major draw at music festivals and spent early 2000 opening up for Radiohead. Ágætis Byrjun won countless awards and was even named Iceland's Best Album of the Century.
The band's successive albums, () and Takk, were a bit of a departure that saw them leave behind some of the ethereal elements of their music and focus on a more guitar-driven rock sound. The singles "Hoppipolla" and "Saeglopur" are great examples of this. They feature traditional rock structure with the band's signature flair for dramatic choruses and colossal guitar effects.
Following the release of the albums Hlemmur and Med Sud I Eyrum Spilum Endlaust, Sigur Rós took a brief break from touring and promotion to get back into the studio. After a trying out new material in small shows and in the studio, the group is set to release Valtari in late May. This will be followed by an extended slate of touring on the festival circuit in Europe and elsewhere, so music fans can expect to hear plenty of Sigur Rós on the airwaves in the near future.