Danish Majesty: Efterklang, Magic Chairs

What with the rotting bark of insufferably twee branches of “folk” and “anti-folk” (alongside any other prefix-addled genre imagined as delusional escapism from pigeonholing) falling from the trees of the softer musical persuasion and poisoning the mainstream, it’s reassuring to finally stumble across the magical realms of Copenhagen’s Efterklang. As endearing as Hjaltalín’s soothing bassoon blasts were wafting over lyrics of Myspace misinterpretations, the hoards of contrived Twickenham tykes eclipsed any true originality, smearing suffocating fiddles over a monotonous mire of hopeless harpings on broken strings, from both hearts and guitars. Efterklang are hardly sure-fire bets to permeate the utterly impermeable saccharine crust that coats the charts. Furthermore, despite the moniker signifying the Danish for remembrance, their secular hymnals are unlikely to infest the essential artist lists of many. Yet whilst spawning Scandinavian spells as stirring as those cast fancifully from majestic long player Magic Chairs, their shying away from widescreen acclaim is extraneous. Opener Modern Drift swirls by in a swooning swansong, stronger than the Gospel of divine orchestration according to Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible, whilst Alike gradually snowballs wistfully in a sorrowful sweet serenade, akin to the Danish National Symphony Orchestra becoming enveloped by enthralling guitar twinkles. The doleful minimalist glockenspiel gongs of Harmonics, entangled emphatically amongst blaring brass and distant whistles beguiles acutely, before the fanfare flurry of Scandinavian Love and the treble-soaked clangs of Mirror Mirror inject a sense of hope into this disdainfully delicate record. Along the lines of the perfect soundtrack to a lonesome night, lost in lupine-prowled forests under a sabre-toothed moon Magic Chairs twists and turns tunefully through darting sepia shades, unperturbed snow underfoot.