The sonically cinematic Danish outfit, Efterklang, release a live recording of their stunning 2007 release, Parades. I know what you’re thinking, apart from the obvious few, (MC5 – Kick Out The Jams, Mogwai – Government Commissions, Take That – Beautiful World Live, The Who – Live At Leeds) live albums are rubbish. They packages of inferior versions of songs a fan will already own, bought only by completists and maniacs. Who really needs Madonna – Confessions Tour Live, for example? They are usually self indulgent, gratuitous, mercenary money-grabbing affairs.
All illustrations are by Ana Benaroya
Performing Parades is none of these things. It is an inventive and truly beautiful re-telling of the stories told on 2007’s Parades. The presence of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra adds depth and a certain verisimilitude to the songs. Though comparisons to the band, Hood, still stand, the complexity of this album edges them toward Sigur Ros levels of grandeur.
Perhaps lumping together two northern European bands with a shared fondness for wide-screen sounds is lazy, but to my mind it is the easiest way to convey the sound. But here goes another way. It is vast, it is enormous, it is icy grey seas crashing against black rocks, music to lose your self in, to walk in wind and rain to.
Remember the first time you heard Svefn-g-englar? Remember how amazed you were that this music had existed without your previous knowledge? Remember how hurt you were that you were not the first to hear it? That is what you have in store if you haven’t heard this Efterklang. This is astoundingly, for a live album, a fantastic starting point, a great way to lever this band into your life. Your life will thank you for it.
The accompanying DVD is not so much an afterthought but an essential part of the package. Gifting you with a selection of music videos from the original Parades album including the charming animated Mirador, the wonderful Caravan and the slightly freaky Illuminant. The piece de resistance is the 55-minute Performing Parades concert film – see clip below. It is not only a live performance, but thanks to director Benjamin Hesselholdt, a recreation of the live experience.
In short, if you only buy one hypnotic northern-European post-rock album in your life, buy Ágætis Byrjun by Sigur Ros. If you buy two, buy this one as well.
Performing Parades is out on 19th October on The Leaf Label.
- Efterklang – The Asylum, Birmingham – Live Review
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