Two years passed since Sigur Rós’ debut. By this time, the band recruited in a new keyboardist by the name of Kjartan Sveinsson and it seems to have done nothing but take the band to an even higher state of self-awareness. Even on aesthetic matters, Sigur Rós entitle their sophomore effort not in a manner to play up the irony of high expectations (à la the Stone Roses’ Second Coming), but in a modest realization. This second album — Ágætis Byrjun — translates roughly to Good Start. So as talented as Von might have been, this time out is probably even more worthy of dramatic debut expectations. Indeed, Ágætis Byrjun pulls no punches from the start. such accomplished gorgeousness that one wonders why such a tiny country as Iceland can musically outperform entire continents in just a few short minutes. The rest of this full-length follows such similar quality. Extremely deep strings underpin falsetto wails from the mournfully epic (“Viðar Vel Tl Loftárasa”) to the unreservedly cinematic (“Avalon”). Which means that “Good Start” might as well become of the most charming understatements to come out of a band in years.