Los Campesinos! recently advocated for “More post-coital,
less post-rock.” Great line, but they probably hadn’t heard Efterklang’s
sexy-sweet post-rock on Magic Chairs. On their third full-length, Copenhagen’s Efterklang
create a carefully orchestrated set of songs that shimmer and tick and soar.
Casper Clausen’s easygoing tenor vocals have a lot to do with it; while not
exactly a crooner, he sings with an enthusiastic sincerity and clarity. Whereas
Efterklang’s past work sometimes dabbled in abstractions, the songs this time
float rather than drift: they don’t rock, but neither do they go out of their
way to remind you of their technique (although it’s there if you want to notice
Like Germany’s the Notwist, Efterklang seamlessly blend
clicky electronics and slow-burning guitars; like fellow Scandinavians
Slaraffenland and Jaga Jazzist, they take pleasure in their considerable
compositional skills (see how the drums carry much of the melody in
“Raincoats,” for instance). But Magic Chairs also recalls ruminative
British bands from the ‘80s like the Blue Nile
and Talk Talk, especially on sweeping tunes like “I Was Playing Drums” and
“Full Moon.” The core quartet often adds orchestral touches to its palette
(they released a live recording of their second album, Parades, with a
full orchestra), but those flourishes tend to be pointillistic, sharply defined
and limited. No grand flourishes here: just pizzicato violins, counterpoint
horns, some sweeping strings to add buoyancy.
Even those who agree with Los Campesinos!’s rallying cry
might concede that more of Efterklang’s style of post-rock would be just fine.
Standout Tracks: “Scandinavian Love,” “Modern Drift” STEVE KLINGE