(The Leaf Label)
The wonderful thing about Efterklang is
that they expand to fill any given space like the springy wee molecules they
are; so though the addition of an orchestra is a tremendous boon to their
sound, it’s also nothing they cannot accomplish themselves at any given show.
The jodhpur-wearing, moustachioed Danes have a way of playing live that makes
you realise, suddenly, how much you love each song. They put the entirety of
their spirits and every shoe-sole, drumstick and vocal chord into doing this.
If anything this illustrious performed version just adds to their credit: makes
them grown-up, impressive, something you could take home to mother.
This version, recorded in 2008 with the
Danish National Chamber Orchestra, features shuffled and charismatic
arrangements that fall in and out of step with those on 2007’s Parades itself on a whim; it still has
those Múm-like twinkling strangenesses, but, see here on ‘Frida Found a Friend’
how the string section slowly creeps in, building up towards something almost
regal in scale, especially with the funereal horns. The great wave-whipping
voices on the former album lay the template for the sheer drama of the latter.
Most of the tracks are sombre but give way, especially on Performing…, to moments of bright light and and heart-punching
prettiness, culminating on the aggressively uplifting finale, ‘Cutting Ice to
Snow’. See: Arcade Fire for ceremony, Björk’s Vespertine for traditional Scandinavian chill and fervent choir
sections; and your nearest white water rapids for how this thing will carry you
Oh, and see the DVD included with Performing Parades, featuring footage of
the aforementioned concert “for posterity”. You can tell they’re proud of this
thing. Furthermore, you can see the sheer joy on the band members’ faces far
having made something so massive, and so loud. Their two-fold volume seems
almost to surprise themselves. Perhaps most importantly, you might see what
those of us saw at the concert in London: a little pool of violinists strumming
their wooden babies like ukuleles.
The next album will purportedly turn in a
very different direction, so you’ll need to jump onto this bandwagon before the
next left. Right? Right.
Tracks: “Mirador”, “Frida Found a Friend”, “Caravan”,
“Cutting Ice to Snow” MERYL TRUSSLER