Efterklang - Parades
A Scandinavian band with a quirky name? It's almost too easy to categorise Denmark's Efterklang before you've even heard a note of their music. Haunting, ethereal instrumentation; offbeat, frail, layered vocals - yes, it's all here. Despite any preconceptions, true or false, that you may have about Efterklang, however, there's something about their second full-length album that's a little bit special. The Copenhagen sextet (whose name aptly translates to 'reverberation') released debut 'Tripper' in 2004 to a well-received underground reception, but failed to replicate the widespread success amongst musos that their forbearers Mew and Sigur Ros enjoyed. If Parades doesn't change that, though, it's doubtful that anything the Danes compose will. It's an album awash with otherworldly electro beats, whispered lyrics, horn sections, string sections and intersections; haunting choirs, Gregorian-style chanting and dreamy soundscapes that sound like what Arcade Fire would sound like if they decamped to a commune in the Arctic for a year. Although some tracks here do require more patience than others, that patience is duly rewarded. Maison de Reflexxion is a particular highlight, its dramatic, apocalyptic tenure providing the perfect soundtrack to a gallows-walk during the Medieval Age, while the jerky drum-clatter quirk of Caravan epitomises the band's experimental nature. The fact that Efterklang permanently enlist a member on 'visuals' for their shows speak louder than any whale-song here, as Parades has a seamless quality that means it could easily pass for a film score. Probably one of the loveliest albums you'll hear this year.
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