Danish 4AD signees Efterklang are known for their pop experimentation, flirting with a range of genres including post-rock, indie pop, electronic music and art pop. On ‘Altid Sammen’, their first proper studio album in 7 years, they add baroque instrumentation to their rich musical tapestry. ‘Altid Sammen’ is a record which focuses on themes of togetherness, searching for meaning in nature, death, the afterlife, friendships and the bonds we create with others.
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I think Efterklang might be better arrangers than they are songwriters. I suppose the difference is small, but to my mind, a songwriter is able to write in such a way that accommodates the singing. ‘Altid Sammen’ is album number 6 from these gentle Danish post-rockers and features some of the most arrestingly beautiful bits of music I’ve heard all year.
That’s the problem though, most of the moment are delved out in bits. The way the instrumentation is arranged her is utterly lush, and when it’s given the room to, swells and grows with a dynamism that is so listenable. But too often it plays second fiddle to the singing which is… fine. Loads of sudden swoops into your falsetto range do not suddenly make you an interesting vocalist, and nor should it excuse that Efterklang were willing to sacrifice precious space to accommodate it.
Take closer ‘Hold mine hænder’ (which my expert translation skills tell me means ‘Hold my hand’). It’s largerly instrumental, featuring strings and woodwind gracefully oscillating, before the lead flute plays a gorgeous melody. It then all drops out, and comes in muted so that it can be sung over. They even manage to introduce a choir on the track in a way that doesn’t feel quite as hamfisted as the lead vocals.
The pattern is repeated across the album ‘Uden ansigt’ is a beautiful slow burner until the vocals come in, ‘I dine øjne’ a lilting disco track. Maybe the vocals will warm on me, but for now, I wish I could hear ‘Altid Sammen’ as an instrumental record.
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- Altid Sammen by Efterklang
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