Live Reviews: Efterklang
The Button Factory, Dublin
29 March 2008
Efterklang are a Danish post-rock band, formed in December 2000, properly millennial. This concert, in the renamed and refurbished Temple Bar Music Centre, was their second in Dublin in four months. The large crowd enjoyed the exuberance and majesty of a band who love playing.
The five core members were joined on tour by four others, giving a full and natural sound augmented by laptop overlays. They arrived on stage wearing identical uniforms: shirt, braces and what seemed to be cavalry hunting breeches, with their lead singer Casper Clausen rattling out a military tattoo on a little drummer boy’s drum. It is this percussive energy that drives the band.
Efterklang means ‘reverberation’, but is loosely translated as ‘remembrance’. Their songs are not simple verse-chorus-verse but thoughtful movements from beginning to end that bring the listener on mini-epic journeys. They owe much to My Bloody Valentine and Nirvana, to boys choirs and church organs. The Esbörn Svensson Trio and Sigur Rós are close neighbours in Asgard.
Efterklang played tunes from both their albums, 2004’s Tripper and 2007’s Parades. Parades is a very European album, consciously created as a Ramblas of sounds that parades in front of the listener. ‘Mirador’ and ‘Caravan’ were greeted with delight, filling the venue with joyous melody, seven voices lifted to the heavens. If the Seattle bands Mudhoney and Nirvana pioneered the slow-fast style of grunge rock, then Efterklang push that to its limits using violin, trombone and other instruments more used to the conservatory. This is rock and roll, the sort played by adults trained properly as children who still want that emotional rush, that energy.
Tripper’s tracks are more electronic, with laptop percussive clicks filling out the soundscapes. ‘Collecting Shields’ began with a single high-pitched voice that cut through the audience, and highlighted the aurora borealis harmonies of Casper and Anna Brønsted. The mood the music created was melancholic, an echoing inside the walls of Valhalla.
Efterklang are unpretentious; they were delighted to entertain. They are serious about music and about where music can take you. As the band describe it, they play music with ‘each section creating a new experience, an individual room of a house. Yet all the elements fit together, so you get a sense of the entire structure as the elements shift and coalesce.’ A night of memorable architecture.
Published on 1 May 2008
Seán Ó Máille is a freelance critic, photographer and full-time secondary teacher in Dublin.