Some bands lull you into a sense of comfort and joy while others stir the heart and mind. The Danish band Efterklang has done both with their third LP Magic Chairs. Perhaps it’s the horns or the orchestral sense of grandeur, but Magic Chairs offers the listener a complex set of tracks with nuances worth exploring. The strings remind one of Ra Ra Riot’s while the tone is more akin to friendly chamber pop. There is a certain bread of people who have a soft spot for all bands who incorporate even a little bit of a horns section into their music. Not too much but just enough to make it memorable, Efterklang’s new album does just that.
Flash-forward to January 2010 and the release of the album Contra, it may be the band’s sophomore LP but is far from sophomoric. To be direct, Contra is as good as the first self-titled album, the reggae indie rock influences are still there as well as the mass appeal. Yet the tracks off of this album feel looser and reflect an attempt at a more intimate musical experience in comparison to their self-titled LP. This can be heard in the cuts Taxi Cab and the deeply orchestral I Think UR A Contra. As before the lyrics reflect the expressions of an unreformed academic, combined with antiestablishment undertones, think of the lyric from the track Run “we mostly work to live, until we live to work”. Other cuts off of Contra like California English, provide an interesting Auto-Tune performance from Koenig. As well the track Give Up The Gun has an enveloping intensity that other songs from the Vampire Weekend catalogue sometimes lack.
Side note: Does anyone know if that is Katherine Heigl on Contra’s cover?
Update (July 23rd 2010): It turns out that the model on the cover of the Contra album is Ann Kirsten Kennis and she is claiming damages upwards of 2 million dollars for the unauthorized use of the photo. The picture was taken all the way back in 1983 while Kennis was still a young fashion model. Vampire Weekend and company insist that they paid for the use of the Polaroid. But all that aside, at least we now know who the polo shirt sporting Contra cover girl is.
Contra is due out Jan 12th 2010
2. White Sky
4. California English
5. Taxi Cab
8. Giving Up The Gun
9. Diplomat’s Son
10. I Think UR A Contra
The Flaming Lips | The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon
You can buy The Flaming Lips latest album Embryonic by clicking on the link.