EFTERKLANG: Parades (The Leaf Label)


Posted on Oct 3rd 2007 12:32 am

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Efterklang: Parades

Rumraket / The Leaf Label 2007
11 Tracks. 48mins59secs

Formed in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the end of 2000 by Mads Brauer (electronics), Casper Clausen (vocals, various instruments), Thomas Husner (drums, percussions and trumpet), Rune Mølgaard (piano) and Rasmus Stolberg (guitar and various instruments), Efterklang, which translates as reverberation, appeared on the international scene with debut album for Leaf, Tripper, in 2004, although they had previously released an EP the previous year on their own imprint, Rumraket. With Tripper, Efterklang painted intimate soundscapes from clicks, statics and environmental electronics upon which hung orchestral waves and occasional acoustic flourishes, with male and female vocals tightly intertwined with the instrumental parts and a Greenlandish choir adding a further emotional touch to the quintet’s ambitious boreal songs. Followed a digital-only EP, Swarming, in 2005 and a very limited one-sided LP in 2006. Earlier this year, the band returned with Under Giant Trees, a magnificent mini album recorded last year while on tour.

On Parades, Efterklang dress their ephemeral pop songs in much more precious and grand attires. The quirky electronics and timid orchestrations have been relegated to the back, replaced by rich organic orchestral tones applied in generous brushes. The quintet have surrounded themselves with no less than thirty musicians, including regular live contributors plus a string quartet, a brass quartet and three different choirs. Far from being the result of a continuous effort, Parades is the fruit of months or trials and errors during which layers were added, subtracted, developed in various ways before each song could eventually take shape. This results in incredibly detailed and precise sound formations with dense layers and variations, as demonstrated on opening piece Polygne. The song sets off with rarefied particles of strings, but soon a choir washes over and the piece grows in stature, served by a melody rich in twists and turns and a superbly controlled orchestration which sees in turn a strings quartet, a choir and a lone piano lead, Clausen’s hushed vocals floating slightly in the back of the scope.

With Mirrador, Him Poe Poe and Horseback Tenors, Efterklang only build on this original sonic firework by introducing sweeping brass, organ, plucked harp strings, crystalline pianos and choral eruptions, each piece appearing more ornate and complex than the one before. This however only contributes to the songs being more consistent and accentuates the enchanting nature of the band’s music. A bit like an old animated movie triggers forgotten childhood memories, the luxuriance of the soundtrack put together by Efterklang acts as a deflector from reality.

Following a short piano interlude (Mimeo), Frida Found A Friend pushes in more experimental terrains. While the band still make good use of the orchestral arsenal at their disposition, they give their crispy electronics an airing for a moment, but as the song progresses and Clausen finds a welcoming ground for his lyrical flakes, it is the choir which becomes predominant, waxing and waning with the instrumentation in the backdrop. Later, Blowing Lungs Like Bubbles is another delicate slice of frosty pop, which, like a fragile thread of icy silk caught between two branches, links the contrasted grounds of Maison De Réflexion and the wonderfully ecstatic Caravan, which is not without recalling Sufjan Stevens’ Come On! Feel The Illinoise!. With hints of dissonant string work and much more subtle variations in its central theme, the instrumental Illuminant takes this album in a slightly more introvert mood, and the melancholic opening of Cutting Ice To Snow could lead to think that the album is about close on a down note, but the band injects a last blast of energy by bringing a relentless beat and all joining in with Clausen on vocal duties for a rather stunning finale.

With Parades, Efterklang have transcended their original sound and considerably developed the scope of their music.. As the band’s records become more ambitious with each release, Efterklang seem to carry them with increasing confidence and maturity. Parades is, quite simply, a masterpiece.


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Comments (7)

7 Responses to “EFTERKLANG: Parades (The Leaf Label)”

  1. mapsadaisicalon 03 Oct 2007 at 9:59 am

    5/5? Wow. I would like a list of all albums (I’m sure there aren’t that many) which have been afforded the milkfactory gold star.

  2. David Abravanelon 07 Oct 2007 at 10:05 pm

    such a wonderful album! I find myself enveloped in sound, lush and crystalline.

  3. themilkmanon 08 Oct 2007 at 9:14 am

    I must say that it is so rich and stunning that it took me a little while to get into. It is a lot to take on but it is, I think, one of the stand out albums of the year.

  4. […] in which their songs are left to wander these days. Very much like Efterklang’s wonderful Parades, Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy is an intensely poetic and fascinating record. It is like Múm have […]

  5. […] they released their second album, Parades, back in October 2007, Danish formation Efterklang probably had very little idea that they would […]

  6. […] of EPs, Danish quartet Efterklang have spent the last two and a half years on the road. While Parades had grown organically during lengthy studio sessions, the songs on Magic Chairs were road-tested […]

  7. THE 2007 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 03 Feb 2012 at 12:37 am

    […] Parades The Leaf […]