Danish outfit Efterklang have undergone a few lineup changes in over ten years as a band, and with that time and shift naturally comes alterations in genre. Where they once dazzled with glitchy, post-rock flamboyance, 2010’s Magic Chairs attempted to wrangle their naturally expansive sounds into indie pop boxes. The trio’s fourth album, Piramida, continues that trend, showing moments of their grandiose power in between ineffectual, mellow pop icicles.
On opener “Hollow Mountain”, vocalist Casper Clausen’s flat, thick vocals recall Coldplay’s Chris Martin, the plinking synths rhythms smack of Tortoise, and the string washes are orchestral pop at their technical finest, yet the song never meets the peaks of any of its components. When Efterklang delve into the lush instrumentation and leave the pop anemia behind, as on the instrumental crescendo of “Apples”, the depth and power compounds.
The thorough arrangements on Piramida continue to be the reason to come to an Efterklang disc, but they are rarely matched with equally strong pop components. The combination of orchestral build and multi-layered, stereo-panning synths on “The Living Layer” blissfully suit the indistinct discussion of “wandering over the bodies” scattered around the cold world. The cold shambling of “Told To Be Fine” takes the laid-beak fuzziness to its apex, Clausen’s moans dissolving into the clattering percussion and blinking synths. He’s not trying to find a hook here, merely emoting and fitting into the world.
The wall of brass on “The Ghostand the third bridge guitar washes and funky horns of “Black Summer” are equally entrancing instrumental choices, but they’re consistently pushed under the mild aimlessness of pop singing. Left to their own devices, the instrumental beds of Piramida would make for entrancing listens; relegated to second fiddle alongside middling pop melodies, they offer a pleasant distraction.
Essential Tracks: “Told To Be Fine”, “Black Summer”