Review of Efterklang’s ‘Piramida’

For Those Who Like: Bon Iver, Radiohead, Fleet Foxes, Jens Lekman, Sufjan Stevens

There are certain times that a music lover will stumble onto something – something that is inconceivable to how it wasn’t found before. For those discovering Efterklang now on the arrival of their fourth album, Piramida, it is an experience not unlike having a word on the tip of your tongue for so long and finally knowing what it is. There is something thrilling here – accessible with enough finesse and modesty to keep each song playing all the way through.

The three Danes, now residing in Berlin, don’t usually perform alone and listening to Piramida there is a full sound only imaginable through a symphony of players, each sending a unique appreciation of their role. Efterklang continue with a dark sensibility on this album, taking their inspiration from nine days recording field sounds in an abandoned Russian mining town – the album now a namesake of the mining settlement.

The second track, “Apples”, carries away with heavy synths matched by electronic horns and string section all coming together in an incredible full song. The full use of percussion in a few of the tracks, as well as disarming Gregorian-like melodies, such as in “Told to be Fine” and “Black Summer” pulls together the sometimes ambiguous lyrics into a genuinely interesting and captivating experience.

Although Piramida may be reminiscent of the leisurely paced ethereal folk/pop/electro music that captured artists throughout 2011, Efterklang’s conceptual creation defines itself with a sincerity that is unmistakable. They do clearly fit in with their 4AD label counterparts, but there is a richness and genuine quality that brings about similar feelings only because there is a true craft being represented here.

The merging of digital and classical instrumentation reflects Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg’s approach to art in general. Using not only Efterklang as a venue for musical expression, they also create short films, and the live debut of Piramida came with a performance in partnership with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

This post was originally published on the New Music Canada blog for New Release Tuesday, September 24th 2012.

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