Valtari - Sigur Rós
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. May 29, 2012
    91
    Sigur Rós delivers a nearly percussion-free batch of ambient soundscapes that may frustrate fans of its more direct predecessor, but ranks among the group's most elegant records.
  2. May 29, 2012
    90
    Slippery, shimmery, beautiful songs.
  3. Jun 19, 2012
    85
    While no one track jumps out as a single, the entire album is something of a near cubist deconstruction of the band's sound. [No.88 p.60]
  4. Jun 7, 2012
    80
    Valtari might not be a huge digression for the band but that doesn't matter: this is quietly, entrancingly and thoroughly sublime.
  5. Jun 4, 2012
    80
    Valtari, their long-awaited joint band effort, revolves to realign their focus instead of undergoing any drastic transformation.
  6. Jun 1, 2012
    80
    A bewitching record. [Jul 2012, p.82]
  7. 80
    As an album, Valtari might not be the band's masterwork, but it very well could be their re-birth.
  8. 80
    These are meticulously calculated compositions, each weighty note serving its purpose in the grand arc of the album. This is beautiful.
  9. May 29, 2012
    80
    On the surface, Valtari may seem like a step back for the band, but instead of just retreading the past, the album is one of their best; a refined display of their musical power with breathtaking dynamics and enough emotion to flood an ocean.
  10. May 29, 2012
    80
    Teeming with crescendoed melodies, children's choirs, and other symphonic flourishes, the album serves as Sigur Rós's full-fledged reunion with the ethereal sound that made them famous.
  11. May 25, 2012
    80
    This is perhaps Sigur Rós' most human-sounding album to date, too. Prepped for intimate nights with loved ones and exhausting journeys back home; it's an album that ditches the dramatic and brings in the calm.
  12. May 23, 2012
    80
    In some ways, this is one of their most beautiful releases in a career that has never been short of elegance.
  13. May 23, 2012
    80
    Valtari is a complex album and time is required for these songs to become truly effective. Once their beauty becomes apparent however, it becomes clear that Valtari is up there with Sigur Rós' best work.
  14. With Valtari, the band has returned in some ways to the sounds it made its name with.
  15. May 29, 2012
    75
    On Valtari it's back to the essentials: oceanic buildups, flickers of treated orchestras and falsetto vocal lines that yank heartstrings, even though you know exactly when they're coming.
  16. May 30, 2012
    70
    It's easily the most cinematic thing they've done since their 2002 masterpiece () (or, "The Brackets Album"), and for those who prefer their earlier stuff this is definitely a solid return to form.
  17. May 29, 2012
    70
    It's as if the band's old pure musical sanctuary has been overgrown and started to crumble, with different light and air glinting through the cracks.
  18. May 29, 2012
    70
    Valtari might not be Sigur Rós's greatest work, but it is an album of subtle beauty and remarkable restraint that deserves to be heard.
  19. 70
    Business-as-usual has rarely sounded this beautiful.
  20. May 29, 2012
    70
    It's a layered, gorgeous nothing, lush with nuanced drift and harmonic sweetness.
  21. May 23, 2012
    70
    While not a major departure, Valtari adds a fresh, ghostly layer to Sigur Rós' slow-motion sprawl.
  22. May 23, 2012
    65
    Beautiful front to back, it's still an album that never quite asserts itself.
  23. May 30, 2012
    61
    The problem isn't that Valtari aspires to beauty, even if it's a commonplace, celestial understanding of it. Sigur Ros have proven they can make indelible music that's pretty and unpredictable, pretty and melodic, pretty and unnerving, pretty and inspiring. Valtari wants to be pretty and that's it.
  24. Jun 26, 2012
    60
    Ekki Mukk is a gossamer-light, if strangely riveting voice in the wilderness, while Varoelder drifts agreeably off into softly chiming waves of yearning desolation. Less stirring are the ambience-flecked, tympani-tickled meanderings that fill out much of the rest of the hour. [Jul 2012, p.90]
  25. Jun 19, 2012
    60
    In the past, they have demonstrated the power to leave people flattened: Valtari, however, just falls a little flat. [Jun 2012, p.94]
  26. Jun 8, 2012
    60
    Valtari is by no means a bad record; it's extremely easy to enjoy. It's even beautiful at times. Unfortunately, it's even easier to forget.
  27. 60
    Though true that the album lacks the fervent surge of nearly every other Sigur Rós record, it's far from a snoozer. The conspicuous beauty and flummoxing eccentricity of the past haven't gone anywhere – they've just had their edges softened.
  28. Jun 4, 2012
    60
    Without any sense of grounding, the record seems like an inconsequential fantasy.
  29. May 31, 2012
    60
    Impeccably produced, Valtari ultimately feels like two diametrically opposed albums.
  30. May 30, 2012
    60
    In the realm of Sigur Rós, it's akin to breathing plain fresh air: in some contexts, refreshing, but in others, just... there.
  31. May 29, 2012
    60
    These slow-building, shivery washes of sound are what the band do best, proving worthy of far more listening time than those incidental moments soundtracking nature programmes.
  32. May 29, 2012
    60
    Valtari is glistening, subliminal and sounds as if it's balanced on a falling raindrop.
  33. May 29, 2012
    60
    There's nothing here resembling stadium polish: if anything, the lush arrangements often yield subtly fascinating results.
  34. 60
    The eight tracks of Valtari, which, while pleasant, are somewhat underwhelming examples of the band's formula.
  35. May 25, 2012
    60
    A pretty set of songs, but this time out, it appears that Sigur Rós's reach has failed to exceed their grasp, resulting in an album that is simply good rather than outstanding.
  36. May 24, 2012
    60
    All too easily, the songs sink into the background – which is a shame, because there is also great beauty here.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. May 30, 2012
    9
    There is only one thing that Sigur Rós can't do and that is make a bad album. This may not be their boldest record, or theThere is only one thing that Sigur Rós can't do and that is make a bad album. This may not be their boldest record, or the poppiest, but it's definitely one of their most intimate and warm. Full Review »
  2. May 29, 2012
    8
    reviewing the work of Sigur Ros is tough because too many people evaluate their work relative to their previous work... rather than the meritsreviewing the work of Sigur Ros is tough because too many people evaluate their work relative to their previous work... rather than the merits of the album alone or comparatively against the work of
    other artists. the truth is that Valtari is a different kind of gem from Sigur Ros that many critics will try evaluate versus their previous work... which in my humble opinion is unfair. Valtari is still light years beyond what other artists are doing (or even dreaming of)... and based upon its own merits is a beautifully, transcendant album that, once again, evokes a great range of emotions. Valtari is the right album at the right time for Sigur Ros. had they taken another step forward from their last album, they very well may have been regarded as "to poppy" or "too mainstream." Valtari pulls us back and reminds us of the foundations that made Sigur Ros great.
    Full Review »
  3. May 31, 2012
    10
    After the poppier Með suð í eyrum, its refreshing to hear the slow, ambient work of Sigur RósAfter the poppier Með suð í eyrum, its refreshing to hear the slow, ambient work of Sigur Rós that originally made us all fall in love with them. Varuð stands out as being not only the greatest song on the album, but quite possibly Sigur Rós´s greatest song to date. Full Review »