Riceboy Sleeps is an exercise both in subtlety and opulence. Stripping away the grandiose build ups and climaxes of the traditional Sigur Ros formula, the band's frontman Jonsi and his boyfriend have created an ambient album with all the flavour but little of the melody of the parent band. It's like Sigur Ros sleeping.
Riceboy Sleeps is a very deep album. You could probably listen to it for weeks and discover something new with every listen. And yet its barely an album at all, more a whisper of music, a hint of what's under the surface. In this respect its very beautiful. There's no point mentioning specific tracks because the album should be heard as one continuous piece, although Boy 1904 notably features the last ever recording of a castrati singer.
The problem with Jonsi & Alex is that they have been left pretty much alone to make the album how they saw fit and it suffers from a lack of outside criticism. Most tracks are over 7 minutes, sometimes unnecessarily so.
I don't really know how to criticise the album though. For every complaint that it lacks direction, the arguement can be made that it's not meant to have a direction. Aimlessness may very well be the goal of these two Icelandic lovers.
Speaking of which, the inaccessability of the album to the casual listener hints at a very personal album. It could very much be a love letter. At worst, its purely masturbatory.
Verdict: *** (3/5) - Self-indulgent but with glimmers of genius.