Yearning for greener pastures, well, maybe more white-ish gray pastures, Danish trio, Efterklang confronts their own limitations on their newest record, Piramida. They confronted their limitations by enlisting the skillful qualities that artists and human beings have of reaching deeply into themselves and acquiring unique ideas and adventurous motives to trigger their honest, yet curious emotions. Efterklang conjured up this kind of magic while gathering influences for their new record. They retreated, nay; gallivanted to a remote Arctic Island settlement called Piramida (hence, the name) to record sounds, take film footage and ultimately create a journey that would truly be extraordinary. Also, potentially, to be the only record ever inspired by this location.
I, without a doubt was an instant fan of Efterklang’s earlier albums, with the tinkering rhythmic glockenspiel goodness that was birthed by their early hit, “Mirador” and the catchy yet nagging half-time groove that incites on their 2010 album, Magic Chairs, with the fantastical number, “Full Moon”. These previous albums mentioned declare something potent and intangibly distinctive with the way they offer minimalist orchestral numbers. The new Efterklang album, which arrived on Tuesday, September 25th on 4AD records, strays away from previous tendencies however, but hear me out, they still tinker beautifully and give way to their innate ability to experiment in an ornate fashion. Take the track, “Between the Walls” for example; a droning, but still intriguing sound effect builds as the song begins while a synthesizer harp sound oversees the responsibility of inviting the listener into the groove. The vocals carry perfectly, balanced over the horns and percussion. The dynamics provide the garnish well and build slowly but never relinquish the ultimate goal, which are the subtle airy qualities.
There are well-defined marks of maturity in every aspect on this record. The recording and layering of the vocals and instruments are flawless (“The Living Layer”, “Apples”.) The percussion and addition of the sounds gathered on the northern Arctic excursion are also well-balanced aspects sure to intrigue. Percussion wise “Apples” and “Black Summer” provide the groove-ridden backbeat sure to thrill the “sideline” fan of Efterklang, maybe even enough to win their full approval. Some darker sounds and turns are taken at certain points sonically but they never lose their overall direction and poise. This may be my favorite and realistically the most unique and dynamic Efterklang record thus far. Listen to the album all the way through though, to get the full ambiance.