Boomkat Product Review:
Efterklang's landmark second album, Parades is paired with the long out of print limited mini-album, Under Giant Trees on this new reissue, which also features live recordings of album tracks. PARADES: Over recent years the Scandinavian nations have acquired quite a reputation for their expansive, orchestral pop music, with Efterklang being one of the most reliable ports of call for icy, string-based lyricism. Parades finds the band distancing themselves from the throngs of post-rock groups that emerged in the wake of Sigur Ros' success, instead focussing on a folksy, more up close and personal take on the genre. The crisply realised electronic sound design and church choir dynamics of 'Polygyne' typifies what Efterklang do best, occupying a grand scale yet avoiding the impersonal, succeeding in compressing an enormous amount of sonic detail into a comparatively intimate setting. The fact that the group seem to all muck in together (particularly when it comes to vocals) only adds to the charm. 'Mirador' is better yet, a piece that finds Efterklang getting quirky with some knockabout, domestic electronics, taking on Múm at their own game, and frankly, coming off very favourably. The mood does dip on occasion, with pieces like 'Frida Found A Friend' capturing the band in a mournful mood, pairing twinkling music box melodies with requiem-like brass and choral sequences. Parades follows up on the impressive form the group sustained throughout Under Giant Trees, proving that they're still in the upper tier of the Scando-rock elite. UNDER GIANT TREES: Returning with this limited edition thirty-minute mini LP, Efterklang certainly haven't downsized the scope of their music since their superb debut for Leaf, Tripper, won them acclaim from all conceivable avenues. Under Giant Trees is a seriously impressive production: grand in scale yet intimate in feel. The backwards violin and twitching piano of 'Hands Playing Butterfly' makes for a comparatively pared-down piece of music, a kind of interval piece between the highly sophisticated arrangements of 'Himmelbjerget' and the digitally manipulated string plucks of 'Towards The Bare Hill'. The album leaves you hungry for more with the gorgeous 'Jojo' a piece of music that for its first two minutes sounds like it could have been an offcut from Bjork's Vespertine album, its melancholic harp chords and electronic atmospherics eventually morphing into something far more symphonic yet still effortlessly emotive. Excellent.