Those familiar with television's Danish crime drama Forbrydelsen might be relieved to know not everything up there takes place against a background of shadows 'n' menace. This innovative and flexible line-up from Copenhagen sit somewhere between the ethereal sonic textures of Iceland's Sigur Ros and the balladry of Britain's Blue Nile, and when this album had its premiere at the Sydney Opera House during the recent Vivid festival, Mojo magazine pronounced it "a masterpiece".
Live it might have come over more giddy because the album has a feeling of constraint, but it's certainly quite something. The title refers to a remote and abandoned Russian mining town in the Arctic where this was recorded, so in places there's a sense of chilly abandonment and spaciousness (like Sedna where singer Casper Clausen sounds like a young, melodic Scott Walker). But there is off-kilter funk as well, and soaring, orchestrated material (the choral-enhanced but languid Told to Be Fine, the robots-in-heaven rhythm-driven sound of The Ghost). With brusque saxophones and widescreen trumpets over electronica (Black Summer), a choir and quietude, Clausen's emotionally distant but warm vocals and 10 mysteriously engaging songs, this warrants serious attention.
Verdict: Warm music coming from a cold place, and vice-versa
Click here to buy Efterklang's new album Piramida.
- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nzBy Graham Reid Email Graham