efterklang performing parades
  • TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2009

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In the hopes of breathing new life into songs that weren't actually old, let alone dead, orchestral rockers Efterklang partnered with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra in Copenhagen one September evening in 2008 to deliver one of their signature transcendental live performances. Captured on audio and video, the four-to-seven piece Danish outfit performed their second studio album Parades in its entirety, dubbing the effort Performing Parades. The band's first live album promises rich harmonies, energetic musical narrative, anti-climactic build-ups, and of course, everything else you heard on the last album they released.

Musically speaking, Performing Parades is immaculate. Each instrument and voice is so strikingly clear, you don't notice that you're listening to a live album except for sporadic smatterings of distant audience applause, and even that is so controlled you might think it only a part of a remix. The robust orchestral layers give sophistication to the edgier studio work, while sacrificing some of the electric and guitar work. The result is a slight, though not unpleasant, misrepresentation of Efterklang's sound: Performing Parades falls short of sounding either electronic or post-rock. Labeling aside, though, the soothing reverberations of Efterklang's melodic opus without the distortion-heavy climaxes of other sound-scientists like Mogwai may be precisely the thing indie-rockers need to finally pull the plugs out of their ears.

But did they need it now? After all, Parades is only two-years-old and in just six years the band already has seven releases and one re-release, yet only two full-length albums in that overflowing cup. That means that there's a lot of superfluous Efterklang material out there teasing some fans while annoying others (remember the Swarming single?) This eighth release, while musically flawless, threatens to add to that pile. And though a live release of an opus album may be defendable, it loses some flavor if the original work hasn't had enough time to simmer on the back-burners of our minds.

Ultimately, Performing Parades does manage to breathe new life into songs not yet dead. The question is whether or not premature CPR will prevent Parades from being revived one day when it really does lay amidst the throngs of a saturated music industry. Perhaps the greater danger, though, is that the album's final resting place will be somewhere buried within the excess of Efterklang's ever-expanding library.-josh cacopardo

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