Efterklang sounds great, but shallow on Magic Chairs

Danish band Efterklang is known for their ever-evolving, hook-free music, and their third album is no deviation. While the band’s first album, Tripper, earned comparisons to the likes of Sigur Rós, and their second, Parades, moved them closer to bands like Arcade Fire, Magic Chairs might be a step toward the string and horn-heavy Sufjan Stevens. Only minus the amazing lyrics and unmatchable compositions.

Most songs on the album are heavily layered with each instrument or vocal beautifully adding to the sound. But very few of those songs are grounded in any one, solid melody. Whereas Sufjan builds around a single guitar or piano (or what have you) part, Efterklang builds in much the same way around nothing in particular. What results is such a light and airy sound that is at some points wonderful and at others, empty.

The album’s first single, “Modern Drift,” is the most solid track you’ll hear. But “Alike,” “Raincoats” and “Scandinavian Love” are all winners as well. Magic Chairs works very well as an album as long as you’re willing to sacrifice your inherent affinity for hooks and structure (assuming you have such affinities). It’s certainly a fresh step for the band that likes fresh steps, yet they’ve made it all their own and that’s just fine.

Efterklang – “Modern Drift” [MP3]

Efterklang – “Scandinavian Love” [MP3]

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