Consider it another pleasant surprise, then, that on "Kveikur" Sigur Rós regains some of the ground it gave up, exchanging the ponderous tone poetry of "Valtari" for an aggressive, harder-edged sound that transmits emotions other than wide-eyed wonder. (Indie rock has given us enough wide-eyed wonder lately to last for years.) "Stormur" conjures the delicious anxiety of young love, while the grinding title track gets as close to Nine Inch Nails' furious industrial disco as "Yeezus" does.
There are longueurs, of course. But in moving away from the band's stultifying idea of beauty, "Kveikur" gets at something livelier — and far more lifelike.
Two and a half stars
Albums are rated on a scale of four stars (excellent), three stars (good), two stars (fair) and one star (poor).