Online Exclusive: Sigur Ros extended review

It will be an unconventional night at the Bass Performance Hall, to say the least.Icelandic rock band Sigur R¢s rarely comes to the United States. Rather than play dark, smoky clubs and bars, however, the band is taking its act to the symphony hall stage.

Often compared to Bj”rk and Radiohead, Sigur R¢s, pronounced “si-ur rose,” is Icelandic for “victory rose.” The band was formed in 1994, on the same day that lead singer and guitarist Jonsi’s sister was born. Her name, Sigurros, gave the band its name.

Sigur R¢s has four members: Jonsi, Kjartan, Georg and Orri. Kjartan, who plays piano, keyboards, guitar and flute, joined the band in 1998. Orri, who plays drums and keyboards, joined the band in 1999. Bassist Georg and Jonsi have both been with Sigur R¢s from the beginning.

The band’s sound is dominated by distant melodies and haunting lyrics. Sigur R¢s aims to illustrate Iceland’s landscape with an eclectic style and mellow instrumentation. The band’s raw sound transcends that of filtered American pop. Sigur R¢s uses experimental methods to create its eerie sound. For example, Jonsi sometimes uses a cello bow to play his guitar, and Georg has used a drumstick to play his bass.

Most of the songs on Sigor R¢s’s first three albums are sung in Icelandic; however, the vocals on the band’s untitled album are sung in an invented language called “hopelandic.” It is not an actual language by definition because it does not have grammar or a vocabulary. Jonsi uses his voice as just another instrument on this album.

The band is touring in support of its 2005 release, “Takk …” Critics at said the album “undeniably evokes the awesome spectacle of nature.” Many American music fans first heard the band on the “Vanilla Sky” soundtrack.

Sigur R¢s will perform Feb. 27 at Bass Hall. Tickets are $38.

– Liz Crawford