After a three-year hiatus, Efterklang returns with their third album, “Magic Chairs.” Sadly, the Danish quintet’s third full-length release leaves something to be desired.
Efkterklang burst onto the Scandinavian music scene in 2004 with “Tripper,” a watershed glitch beat album that sounded as if it took its cues from an oddly melodic broken CD. The group made their real breakthrough, however, with 2007’s “Parades,” an organic, orchestral gem that blurred the lines between classical and rock.
Although it continues in the same vein as “Parades,” “Magic Chairs” carves its own mark in Efterklang’s history. The album kicks off with “Modern Drift,” an ambient number where warm vocal harmonies shine through lilting swaths of piano work. Though it is only the first track, the production makes clear that this album will be a definite departure from the roughness that won the band acclaim in
its formative stages. Somewhat oddly, it works.
The rest of the album follows this same format, with lofty guitars wafting over airy, heavily accented vocals reminiscent of the band’s Danish heritage. Highlights include the melodic “I Was Playing Drums,” the gentle resolve of “The Soft Beating,” and the pensive, contemplative album closer, “Natural Tune.” The album reaches its climax during “Raincoats,” a vibrant and experimental number that draws definite parallels to fellow experimental rockers The Dirty Projectors.
Despite these highlights, “Magic Chairs” is ultimately a disappointment. Although “Raincoats” alone is worth the price of admission, in a way, the album is too perfect. There’s very little variation, making for an album of homogenous monotony. Diehard fans will surely consider this album a must, but newcomers would be better off starting with “Tripper” or “Parades.”
Recommended for fans of the Dirty Projectors.