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Jónsi Go
Released 05 April 2010
Producer Peter Katis, Jónsi, Alex Somers
Label Palophone
Length 40:17
Genre Baroque pop
Website jonsi.com

Go is the much anticipated solo debut from Jón ‘Jónsi’ Birgisson. Most music lovers know Jonsi as the lead singer and guitarist of Icelandic post-rock group Sigur Rós and with the high level of quality produced by the band expectations are high with this release. Fortunately Go does not disappoint. Jónsi has collaborated with young American composer Nico Muhly and partner Alex Somerson on this record. Muhly is something of a wunderkind having composed the score for The Reader as well as working with Philip Glass extensively. Somers previously collaborated with Jónsi on the album Riceboy Sleeps and also produces artwork for Sigur Rós. Jónsi shows his experience by selecting the perfect collaborators and producing the album himself.

As a songwriter he is one of the most interesting voices currently producing music. His angelic tone, that so firmly sets Sigur Rós apart, is of course the main attraction here. The single ‘Go Do’ opens the album and is an absolute belter, beginning with snippets of  vocals pasted together that are soon followed by shy woodwinds only to be strengthened by a pounding beat. This opening track is so infectiously optimistic and powerful you can’t help feeling immediately uplifted. There is a subdued frantic energy to the next track ‘Animal Arithmetic’, and it seems to permeate the entire album. It’s a kind of childish excitement and playfulness that seems to be evidence of all involved parties immensely enjoying themselves. The spectrum of emotion is broad as can be felt on such moving tracks as ‘Tornado’, ‘Sinking Friendships’ and ‘Around Us’.

Like some kind of acoustic alchemist Jónsi seems to be able to produce surges of sheer feeling in the listener as both his music and tone are perfectly balanced. The arrangements by Muhly have serious depth yet are instantly accessible and nothing is over complicated. Go is an exceptionally enjoyable listen that will please fans of Jónsi’s previous work and those approaching him with fresh ears.

- Gary McDonough