Efterklang – Performing Parades

Efterklang - Performing Parades

Efterklang - Performing Parades

The symphonic choral rock group Efterklang released Parades in October 2007. A year later, the band performed this highly praised album with The Danish National Chamber Orchestra. Performing Parades captures that live concert and makes for a fantastic listening experience.

Efterklang consists of 3 to 4 core members with additional helpers for live performances. And now, with the 30 or so orchestra musicians here, their sound bristles through a full range of emotions. Threaded through Efterklang’s symphonic rock is a willful, experimental pop spirit that, at times, makes the music transportive, tempting us to re-imagine our inner child’s Terabithia as a place that is more mysterious than it is innocent, calling to somewhere beyond imagination.

The oddly affecting opener “Polygene” mixes ambient and experimental music with melodies that forcefully encapsulate Efterklang’s unique sound. Right away you witness their charmed escapist’s soundtrack. Next, “Mirador” stirs us with an excellent arrangement and bright sound. At their best, Efterklang have visions that must be heard at loud volumes.

At only two and a half minutes long, the brief “Him Poe Poe” is one of my favorites. I thought it provocative in its brevity, for even this short march has an epic sense about it. Throughout Performing Parades, Efterklang takes you places. “Frida Found a Friend” goes to the shadows; “Maison de Reflexion” militarizes the skies; and  “Caravan” energetically rouses the populous. Similarly, “Cuttin Ice to Snow”, while less flavorful than “Caravan”, reminds us that a simple pop song runs through even the most complex moments.

Aside from bits of filler, Performing Parades has only two weak spots: “Horseback Tenors” and “Illuminant”. But even these less inspired moments can strike a chord when given a chance. If there’s a real worry here, it is Performing Parades‘ lack of flow as a long play album. Pieces feel at times disconnected from each other. This may be entirely the result of the awkward. polite applause following each song. But this does nothing to marr the elegant composition of parts within each track. Performing Parades is an achievement. If symphonic rock has always struck you as a little corny, this album will open your mind. Recommended for all.

Efterklang’s Myspace
The Leaf Label