Efterklang
Magic Chairs


2.5
average

Review

by Jared Ponton STAFF
February 17th, 2010 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A case where diversifying sounds is a weakness instead of a strength.

Over the course of their career, Danish Efterklang have undergone a sonic shift from a vocal-tinged post-rock campaign to a more indie-pop sound that now plays to those listeners that are looking for remembrance and melody in their music. Like a temperature change that occurs from season to season, the band’s progression has been slow and steady but has certainly been felt overtime. Tripper debuted the band on a Sigur Ros-styled English note, and Parades followed by detouring Clasper Clausen and his Danish crew into something more along the lines of The Album Leaf’s recent melodic exploits; now, on Magic Chairs, the sonic shift continues on from the parade that ended in late fall of 2007 and gives us an indie-pop-esque product that forsakes much of the quintet’s initial post-rock beginnings.

Magic Chairs’ strength lies in the band’s confidence to adapt and utilize their new sound effectively. Clasper Clausen’s knack for building subtle vocal melodies around the diverse yet underplayed instrumental aspects of the band is the main bread and butter for this album; throw in some lovely harmonizing from Heather Broderwick (piano and flute), and you have a solid foundation for crafting a good, if not standard and unremarkable indie-pop release. This “standard” yet diversified feel that pervades much of the album, if anything at all, happens to be the vice that keeps Efterklang’s new release from reaching a post-rock-esque climax of success.

“Modern Drift” opens Magic Chairs by flirting with circling textures, lovely violins, and a drum-led melody, which initially bring promise for what it is to come, however, happens to unpleasantly contrast the dull trudging of “Alike” and “I was Playing Drums” that immediately follow. As such, Magic Chairs continues with a strong-song, weak-song progression for its ten-song course; none of either descriptions of songs being strikingly memorable or slip-of-the-mind forgettable either. “Full Moon”, closer “Natural Tune”, and the aforementioned opener are the album’s strongest peaks, if you must call them that; the middle of which’s rapid, acoustic picking and melt-in-your seat melody from Clasper and Heather ends the album on such a fine note that many might even be tricked into believing that Magic Chairs is better than it actually is.

Given the slight but noticeable change that was heard when comparing Efterklang’s Tripper and Parades albums, one could have guessed at what Magic Chairs would have sounded like even before listening. The act of moving indie-pop to the center stage of attention sounds reasonably strong and confident in practice, true, but it must be said that the band spends a little too much time trying to diversify and “wow” us with their assortment of instruments and varying tempos, when they should be concentrating on a particular strength of their sound and building it into an impressive set of songs that flow and remain memorable in the long run. Encompassing to a fun set for live shows but resulting in an airy, negatively diversified album, Magic Chairs marks a band that is evidently in a continued transition of sounds; who knows what they will give us next time, or more importantly, how good it will sound?



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user ratings (46)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2010


6013 Comments


Stream:

http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/luisterpaal/43109159#luisterpaal.43109159

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2010


10992 Comments


orly

Digging: Destroyer - Poison Season

AggravatedYeti
February 17th 2010


7685 Comments


yah Ive heard only good things about this.

but I mean I can see myself agreeing with you, guys kinda gimme a srs case of the zzZzZzZzz's.

Romulus
February 17th 2010


8478 Comments


Where do you get all these owls??? Nice review too.

EVedder27
February 17th 2010


6088 Comments


yeah the owls rule. This sounds like something I might be interested in, but will probably avoid.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
February 17th 2010


7508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i thought this had quite a lot of potential but was ultimately pretty boring.

Wizard
February 17th 2010


19922 Comments


Good review. Sounds terrible, I mean indie-pop? That's no way to treat your ears man hahahaha.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
February 17th 2010


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I liked this.

Wizard
February 17th 2010


19922 Comments


Whoa, you're back?

MassiveAttack
February 17th 2010


2723 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

New Efterklang and it seems split on who likes and dislikes it...hmmm Parades was class...hope this stands up to it.

Nagrarok
February 18th 2010


8465 Comments


Keep up the good work Jared. I've said it before, but you churn out these reviews faster than pretty much anyone.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 18th 2010


6013 Comments


hmmm i was looking forward to this, so this is disappointing to read. oh well, i'll see for myself whenever i get around to it.

Digging: John Hartford - Aereo-Plain

thebhoy
Emeritus
February 18th 2010


4461 Comments


well, listening to this at the moment, I disagree. But I'm only half-way through, so we'll see.

TheWayfarerElectric
February 24th 2010


154 Comments


"I Was Playing Drums"???

Ponton
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2010


6013 Comments


Hmm, I didn't expect this one. Thank you.

WatchItExplode
February 25th 2010


3680 Comments


ditto nagranrok...you put in a hell of a lotta work round here, much appreciated though I likely won't bother with this

Ponton
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2010


6013 Comments


Well thank you. My output is likely to decrease though. I'm now working as a staff reviewer at a new site, and I have just been accepted to write staff reviews for another as well.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 25th 2010


6013 Comments


jared, could you link those sites? i think i had the first one but completely forgot to bookmark it. congrats on the second one too, i hadn't heard about that! you deserve it, with the remarkable rate of output you had here

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2010


8504 Comments


whoa another site man? Which one? Also, more gratz then haha

Ponton
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2010


6013 Comments


My first was www.reviewrinserepeat.com ( I'm not on the staff page yet), and here is the most recent: www.thealbumproject.net.



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