Spin - p.1253.5 stars out of 5
-- "HEIM's unplugged conceit -- which spotlights vocalist Jonsi Birgisson's high, ghostly howls -- showcases the band's eerie pull."
Entertainment Weekly - p.132
"[T]he Sigur Ros formula works....[A] testament to the band's ability to achieve enormous dynamic range with or without amplifiers." -- Grade: B+
Uncut - p.1023 stars out of 5
-- "'Staralfur' and 'Asetis Byrjun' are plain gorgeous, allowing what are essentially protracted pop melodies to ebb and flow across the acoustic backing."
Alternative Press - p.1304.5 stars out of 5
-- "Nowhere in recent memory has there been a trace of something so breathtaking, epic or even remotely inspiring as portrayed within the sweeping arrangements and frightening fragility of HVARF/HEIM."
The Wire - p.65
"[T]he stripped down acoustic versions of their earlier material...reveal the group's talent for simple, beautiful melodies and melancholy song..."
Q (Magazine) - p.1143 stars out of 5
-- "'I Gaer' builds from icicle-laden wonder to snarling intensity, and positions Sigur Ros on the same spectrum of proggy nihilism as Radiohead and Pink Floyd."
Q (Magazine) - p.73Ranked #46
in Q's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2007" -- "[O]ne of their most approachable offerings....A reminder 'epic' need not be a dirty word."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.984 stars out of 5
-- "Salka pulls off the profoundly Icelandic trick of sounding both despairingly melancholy and utterly life-affirming..."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.914 stars out of 5
-- "'Agaetis Byrjun' always had a heart of acoustic folk at its centre and this live version allows it to beat even more freely."
Released in conjunction with the 2007 Sigur Ros documentary HEIMA, the double-CD HVARF/HEIM set presents the revered Icelandic post-rock ensemble in two different settings. HVARF consists largely of previously unreleased tracks that capture the group's majestic sound, most notably "Hljomalind," which features the quartet building to glorious crescendos in full-blown rocked-out mode, and "I Gaer," a dark, dramatic number that harks back to Sigur Ros's goth-tinged early material. HVARF's companion disc, HEIM, finds the act working in a pared-down acoustic vein, with Jon Por Birgisson's fragile, emotive vocals more prominently showcased in the mix, as on the soaring "Staralfur" (from the lauded AGAETIS BYRJUN album) and the slowly unfurling "Von" (from the band's debut of the same name). While this compilation most readily appeals to diehard Sigur Ros fans, the first disc is dynamic enough to pull in new listeners, and the second radiates an intimate warmth, making the compilation much more than just a rarities collection.