It’s no stretch of the imagination that Icelandic experimental cello quartet Amiina is a perfect fit to share the stage with fellow countrymen Sigur Ros. Both groups apply idiosyncratic interpretations to instrumental music, but whereas the men of Sigur Ros more than occasionally give in to bombastic tendencies, the women of Amiina keep their compositions eternally on the down low.
Pick any moment on Kurr at random and you’re likely to find an abundance of simple melodies played on fragile instruments plucked, strummed, or bowed, and intermingling at quiet volumes. There’s a genuine emotion and depth to these songs that comes out in the sonic equivalent of a shy hug or the tenderness of holding a hand. While that description might make it sound as though the group’s music is dangerously close to maudlin, any preciousness is checked by the fact that these arrangements are deceptively solid behind their coy, brittle exterior. Amiina is able to — with, for example, the hopeful, elegantly rustic swells of strings on “Sexfaldur” — reach the same heart-swollen pinnacle that most post-rock bands spend albums seeking through innumerable layers of guitar effects. It’s this organic and playful take on experimentation that makes Amiina all the more endearing and worthwhile of attention in the waning days of post-rock.