Efterklang - Magic Chairs

Efterklang 1. n. The expletive yelled in anger after dropping of an item of value to the floor resulting in it becoming damaged. 2. n. Copenhagen based quartet fusing left-of-centre electronic beats with grand orchestral gestures.

We’ll be concentrating on the second of the above definitions today. As they sweep into 2010 with their usual grandiose style and flair, darting over the musical landscape and skimming across seas of melody with their latest long-player, Magic Chairs.

It’s without question a beautiful body of work, fusing musical complexities with solid song writing. But it is also the most accessible thing they have ever done, resulting in some of the depth that made them such an attractive proposition in the first place being eroded. By keeping things light and fluffy, Magic Chairs doesn’t construct as convincing a world to absorb the listener.

With the band making such a significant change of direction, the question of whether this is a move forward for them arises. From a commercial standpoint this is the record with the greatest potential to shift some units; from an artistic perspective things can seem a little superficial. There are also numerous places where the vocals veer extremely close to Coldplay, admittedly avoiding their formulaic approach to rousing artificial emotional responses. But it’s still disappointing when it happens.

This is a record that will struggle to satisfy their existing audience by edging too close to the mainstream. It’s also not shallow enough to make a coordinated strike upon the masses. By staying on the fence, Magic Chairs is likely to fall through the cracks and become nobody’s favourite Efterklang album.



out of 10

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