Danish band Efterklang deliver a box of delightful spells
with their new album 'Magic Chairs'. Ten of them in fact.
This is music unafraid to marry complexity with great
human warmth. Sounds for the heart and the mind indeed!
Strong melodic ideas expressed through a guitar,
drums, keyboards and bass core, augmented by
sensitively applied string arrangements.
Casper Clausen's fragile but hugely expressive voice
stands at the centre of these fine songs. He understands
the value of economy; the natural quality of all his
performances never sounds remotely forced or affected.
Things kick of with the spirited strains of 'Modern Drift'.
A lovely tune spun out over rolling keyboard arpeggios,
spirited percussion, limpid strings and gentle harmonies.
Mr Clausen sings like an angel.
'I Was Playing Drums' is another winning composition
which brought Arcade Fire to mind on one or two
occasions - something to do with the pulsing,
anthemic nature of the performance perhaps.
The rich multi-instrumental nature of the music of both
bands places them in not dissimilar sonic territory.
The handclaps and chanting at the beginning of 'Raincoats'
sets the scene for one of the project's most affecting
ideas. The high-flying flute contributes a folksy element
totally in accord with the pounding pagan percussion.
'Full Moon' immediately found a place in my
hairy heart as I am sure you can imagine!
A mysteriously moody song brilliantly enhanced
by the distant choral commentary.
'The Soft Beating' is a simply beautiful song.
Final track 'Natural Tune' is just what it purports to be.
The composition sounds like it was plucked from the air
fully formed, covered in silver spider webs and morning dew.
A delightful ending to a truly enchanting album.
There will be few finer albums this year!
on 17 April 2011
When I first heard Efterklang, I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of them before - their music is lovely and this album is brilliant. Describing it is hard... the only band I can think of to compare them to is arcade fire but there is something folky going on there too, and different sounds and beats, and there's something experimental about it. This is a great album to wake up to on a sunny morning... or to make you feel like its sunny on a rainy morning, or just to chill out to at anytime. It's a grower too. If in doubt, just listen to the songs on their website/on you tube and get a feel for them - efterklang also have a short film linked to this album that is worth a look.
on 21 June 2011
I admit it took me a while and a good few listens to get into this record. However once I started listening closely, it all came into focus. Each track is arranged with rare precision and detail, having only the instruments (including strings and horns) and voices that are needed. And as someone who likes his pop a little more complex than most, this album really hits the spot for me.
Certainly recommended to fans of their 4AD labelmates Grizzly Bear and (their nearest comparison) Anathallo.