No idea. I had absolutely no idea who Efterklang were until right before I was watching them in the Opera House last weekend. I went on a hunch that Amelia, (who has written for us about Brandy before), a girl who usually has exquisite taste in everything and raved about these guys, was right. And by jove, she was. Efterklang, despite their tongue-twister of a name, are a phenomenal band with a lot of heart, and moved me more than many acts I’ve seen this year. Now I’m back at my computer hurriedly gobbling up their discography and trying to recreate the magic I witnessed right in front of me. The lesson? When people you respect go out of their way to recommend something to you, there’s usually a very good reason for it.
Efterklang is a Danish quintet who write indie rock with such grand visions already firmly entrenched that when they are brought to life by an orchestra, as they were on Saturday night, it’s truly something fantastical. Sonically, they exist somewhere between the sweeping majesty of Sigur Ros and the cool Scandinavian mood-rock of Oh Land and Peter, Bjorn and John. They’ve also inherited what must be a god-given Nordic nose for a pop melody, in which even their darkest numbers transform into vibrant, hum-worthy pieces of art. Though what I heard was largely unreleased material from their forthcoming new record, the guys were nice enough to finish up with a ‘for old time’s sake’ encore, which included this gem from 2010, when they first signed with 4AD (Bon Iver, The National, St Vincent) for worldwide distribution. Coincidentally, my friend Sweetie was playing host to the Marketing Manager from that label for the evening, so I got to discuss the trajectory of the band over beers after the show. They’d even flown a writer from MOJO in the UK all the way down to Sydney just to review this gig, a fact which is simultaneously amazing and completely unfair.
‘Modern Drift’ starts with a delightful fluttering piano ostinato that sounds perfect for an ad for printers or Apple computers or something. Meanwhile Casper Clausen pushes out his melody like he’s struggling for air, which is totally romantic and also unwarranted because it becomes apparent soon after that he’s very good at singing. It soon blossoms into something much more like a tear-jerking ad for digital cameras (I need to stop talking about ads, but it really does hit you like that). There’s triumphant horn blasts, trembling strings and barreling drums that increase in frequency until we’re no longer in piano-land but now frolicking about with a full orchestra. The violins fall into sync with the harmonies, the keys double up with vibraphones, but despite the influx of instruments, everything is tastefully done. Over and over again, it wells up the emotions, and just like Edward Sharpe yesterday, beams positivity. What a trip.
Efterklang – ‘Modern Drift’