In his debut album as a solo artist, Jónsi creates an otherworldly place where everything is epic and upbeat. Jón “Jónsi” Thor Birgisson, the lead singer from Icelandic group Sigur Rós, is noted for his falsetto voice and ambient, textured guitar (courtesy of a cello bow). His solo album follows the band’s departure from ethereal to a transition into a more “pop” sound, as seen on their last album.
Jónsi’s first single and album opener, “Go Do,” starts with layers of flute, electronic sounds and piano with heavy drums, adding a strong beat to the lighter music. It creates a cheerful sound, especially when accompanied with Jónsi’s airy voice, almost forcing you to smile while listening.
The album is mostly in English, a definite departure from his Sigur Rós days, when he sang primarily in Icelandic and his own made up language, Hopelandic. Jónsi’s English lyrics take away from the beauty of the music because it is no longer only about the aesthetics. He relies frequently on clichés, like “we should all be in love,” found on “Animal Arithmetic.”
Language aside, the music on “Go” is varied and beautiful. Its upbeat nature is refreshing. “Sinking Friendships” has a blend of oddity, falsetto and musical depth. “Around Us” provides a mix of electronic and orchestral strings while maintaining Jónsi’s distinct style. “Growing Till Tall” ventures towards the ethereal, which may appease Sigur Rós fans. The song’s build up is a compliment to the previously fast paced songs, and it also showcases Jónsi’s unusual voice.
As a whole, “Go” is an admirable debut and the perfect way to lift your spirits, especially if you’re in need of creative inspiration or if you want your walk to class to be a bit more epic.