Northernmost Promise. Efterklang, Piramida.

Despite having now been active for a clutch of years over a decade, greatly percussive Danes Efterklang have been slow to bloom, one may assume. It was only after a move to revered London label 4AD ahead of their third full-length, the sensational Magic Chairs, that their wide-eyed compositional wonderment filtered through to a fair few more ears. Then, it was their sparkling oeuvre. Now, it must play second fiddle, although only to its successor, Piramida.

The Polish term for that which myriad northeast African thralls could once pride themselves upon, Efterklang's latest is as meritorious of gob-agape awe as any Ancient Egyptian edifice. A startling work of refined beauty, it's of little wonder that its release comes a total of exactly thirty-one months after that of Magic Chairs for this is richly textured, if entirely unostentatious modern song construction at its most beguiling. Grasp The Ghost for conclusive proof – composed of rustic strings, florid and stately brass, and hypnotic repetitions of "Takin' it up/ You take me up" that give the impression of lead vocalist Casper Clausen ascending in an exultant waft of hallucination, it's incontestably explosive pomp that is quelled by intricate, and somehow immutably simple soft rock. This is Efterklang saving themselves from their own showiness; the trio reining in the grandiosity to magician their grandest effort to date.

More astonishing still is that it is inclusive of the stuff of singalong song: Apples injects the exigent, synthetic desolation of Black Celebration-styled Depeche Mode into the midst of a misty orchestral maelstrom that sequentially whirls off into a startlingly organic chorus. It may be one to fĂȘte as their finest piece thus far, even. The usage of an orchestra remains fundamental – and they are to tour Piramida with one that remains entirely intact – yet its prominence is rather less focal than it may have been previously, thus allowing Mads Brauer's electronic permutations to run amuck. They smear a gloopy warmth atop the hoarfrost chills to The Living Layer; bring a gelid clarity to the stark balladry of Sedna; a pleasantly primal, if ever icy aesthetic to the otherwise unremarkable Told To Be Fine.

What's with all the glacial analogy though, I hear you chatter from blued lips? Well, whilst we may encounter Efterklang at the pinnacle of their abilities on Piramida, its title in fact derives from a reach that's considerably more northerly. That is, to be precise, the deserted Svalbard mining town where it was not only conceived but also committed to the MP3s now kept warm within your harddrive. Think of it as Efterklang becoming impregnated with this artistic outburst whilst away on exploratory voyage deep in the Arctic Circle, only to then designate their latest brainchild according to its place of insemination. And coincidentally, there's an uninhibited charm to much of the album. Whether that's the lullabied clomp of the semi-instrumental Dreams Today, or the playful chirps, blurts of staccato string and scrupulously manipulated harmonies of Hollow Mountain, in frequenting uncharted territories both geographically and stylistically (in simplicity most pertinently) Efterklang have located a place to call their own. Will it be known to them as home? Doubtful as they continue to peregrinate extravagantly between every LP, but it's a step in an astounding direction nonetheless.

Jamie Holloway.