Efterklang – Magic Chairs

Efterklang - Magic ChairsEfterklangMagic Chairs (4AD)

Love it or hate it, Arcade Fire‘s Funeral has reached international proportions to the point that even the second-tier bands can be found in such far reaching places like the Netherlands.

Here’s the thing, when Efterklang began making records before Funeral, the records sounded a lot more like Sigur Ros. Whether or not the change in sound was a factor in the band getting signed or the result of it, Magic Chairs is yet another entry in orchestral pop world that began when people stopped smelling like teen spirit and began incorporating their friend with the cello into their rehearsals.

I love melodramatic workouts—my best of lists are littered with ’em—but you’ve got to give me an idea why it was necessary to raid the high school band room to borrow as many instruments as you can fit into your Civic hatchback.

Have you moved a xylophone?

It’s not an easy task, particularly if there are stairs involved, so there better be a good goddamn reason why it needs to be lugged around.

Magic Chairs sounds like it’s cluttered for the simple reason that they needed to make their first 4AD entry a memorable one, forgetting to actually make memorable songs in the process.

There are layers upon layers of violins, horns, flutes, and yes, xylophones, that encompass every square inch of magnetic tape, hiding the levity of Casper Clausen’s words and vocals behind a wall of grandiosity. Not that there’s any real need to hear what he’s singing; when the words are deciphered, they’re riddled with optimistic couples in a dire attempt to match the significance of the orchestrated racket.

It’s a beautiful sounding album for sure, and I’d be willing to bet that the real high drama is saved for their live shows. But to take Magic Chairs independently of all of this is to realize that all of the fussiness of their newfound orchestration may be the result of pandering instead of any true epiphany.

MP3: Efterklang – “Modern Drift”

Video: Efterklang – “Modern Drift”

Video: Efterklang – “I Was Playing Drums” (4AD Sessions)

Efterklang: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

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