Efterklang - Parades

2008-04-19 06:27
Efterklang - meaning remembrance and reverberation - is a Danish fivesome whose first studio album, 2004's Tripper, managed to slip beneath the radar of most casual listeners, myself included. Yet, along with several EPs, it seeped into the consciousness of enough people to cause an upwelling of expectation for this second full-length effort, Parade.

Drawing a bead on exactly how to describe Efterklang's music is tricky – it squirms away from comparison. If you had to shoehorn the album into a classification of some sort, it would probably be orchestral post-rock. But post-rock that someone forgot in some distant outpost for long enough that it started making up its own language. There’s less of the droning dirges of, say, Mogwai, and more of the astral spangles of Sigur Rós.
The quintet of multi-instrumentalists use a canvas of airy electronica smeared with choral melodies, jingling percussion and overtones of pomp and circumstance to create tracks that swell to full kettle-drum-and-strings climax, before shushing to a lullaby whisper. The multitude of layers, often seeming to take a halfhearted stab at harmony and stopping just short of being outright discordant, induces the kind of mild confusion that comes with waking up from a nap in a strange room. It all begs for repeated aural digging to get into the crannies of the delicious cacophony.

A clue to the overall effect can be found in the title of the album - it's like watching a parade of bands march past, each playing its own tune on different instruments, and yet combining in the ear of the observer into a gorgeous stack of sounds.

The drawback to albums composed of soundscapes is that it can be difficult to pick standout tracks; while "Caravan" and "Cutting Ice to Snow" are examples of their technique executed to perfection, there's a danger of the band sounding like a one-trick pony. In this case, however, it happens to be a pretty damn good trick.

So jack in your earphones and get the buds stuck deep in there. Go about your daily life and let Efterklang score the theme tunes for the stories unfolding around and within you.

- Richard Gregory

Some music wasn't made to be shared. Sure, there’s a need in the world for the kind of sing-along stadium rock that memories are made to. Efterklang isn't that music. This is the kind of stuff you want to pipe through a good pair of headphones: inject the sounds straight into your cortex by the most direct route possible, get them in there good and deep. Screw listening to it with others - this is the soundtrack to the movie of your inner life, written, directed and starred in by you.

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