What’s hot and what’s not

The new album by The Electric Soft Parade, IDIOTS. PA Photo/Handout
The new album by The Electric Soft Parade, IDIOTS. PA Photo/Handout

Sigur Ros - Kveikur

These Icelandic giants have already made much of the “aggressive” step they’ve taken on Kveikur, their seventh studio album and the second in the space of a year.

Indeed, from the first track and first single, Brennesteinn, until the last, this is a whole lot more punchy, pounding and ultimately percussional than anything that came from the trio before.

But “aggressive” is a strong word: after all, this is Sigur Ros, whose music remains the most beautiful being made - they haven’t become Rammstein overnight.

The echoing falsetto vocals, euphoric waves of synth, dainty jingles, tender strings and softly hummed harmonies from Jon Thor Birgisson, Georg Holm and Orri Pall Dyrason, still stop listeners dead in their tracks.

The upping of the pace on Kveikur makes it slightly less accessible than the band’s previous offerings, but, given time, it’s still every bit as bedazzling as fans would hope.

Rating: 9/10

The Electric Soft Parade - IDIOTS

After one of the most grinding and horrendous winters in recent memory it’s a relief to finally see the sun, but making it even more of a joy is the amount of true summer records being released. This album is definitely one to stick in that pile.

Shot through with glorious Beach Boys-esque harmonies and the psych tinge of the Super Furry Animals, the veteran indie popsters, led by brothers Alex and Thomas White, have made a fine album.

Summertime In My Heart is the highlight, almost veering into saccharine territory until a masterful middle eight sends the chorus soaring. This is one for barbecues, parks, country walks, beer gardens and Belle and Sebastian fans. ESP are becoming masters of their craft.

Rating: 7/10