Since 2000, the Copenhagen-based quartet (plus an ever evolving number of collaborators) has been quietly honing their craft, fusing left-of-centre electronic beats with grand orchestral gestures. Self-sufficient by nature and necessity, the band have until now, always written, recorded and produced every element of their music from the comfort of their Copenhagen bunker. In this time, they have also run their own label Rumraket label, working with the likes of Grizzly Bear, amiina, Taxi Taxi! and Slaraffenland, successfully making sense of both careers.
So far, the results have been nothing short of revelatory; in particular, 2007’s hugely ambitious Parades, an album that was difficult to define but even harder to fault, it raised their profile enormously and with Magic Chairs, they continue their evolution, exploring previously uncharted territory. Taking inspiration from the great purveyors of rock and pop music who revelled in the joys of a simple pop melody, Efterklang set about stripping back their own music to its basic core, road-testing new tracks at live shows before committing them to tape. Like everything else, the recording process was also to be a brand new experience and unlike the lengthy gestation of Parades, recording for Magic Chairs was a relatively brief and straightforward business.
Removing themselves from their home city and heading to Aarhus’ Feedback Recording Studio, the band recorded basic tracks as a band (drums, bass, guitars and piano), replicating the live set-up from where the songs had initially taken form. Later, back in Copenhagen, orchestral flourishes were added and guest musicians were called upon (including their touring band members - Peter Broderick, Heather W. Broderick, Frederik Teige and Daniel James). For even greater clarity of sound, British engineer and producer Gareth Jones (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, Interpol, Grizzly Bear, Wire and more) was drafted in for mixing duties to work alongside their in-house electronics wizard, Mads Brauer.
The result is an intimate and immediate record that exudes warmth. The grandiose classical structures heard so prominently and admired so highly in previous albums Tripper and Parades have been replaced by something far more streamlined, deconstructed and altogether melodious. Opening track ‘Modern Drift’ is a statement of intent with its intricate and looping arpeggios whilst ‘I Was Playing Drums’ is arguably their most accessible pop song to date, the echoes of its refrain linger irresistibly in the ear. Magic Chairs still bears the occasional signature moment (an electronic buzz here, a choral flair there) but all told, it is an album that is an even bolder step forward.
IMPALA Award - Euroepan Independent Album of the Year (2010)
Japan Times - Best Oveseas Album (2010)
Gaffa - Danish Album of The Year (2010)
Ekstra Bladet - Danish Album of The Year (2010)
Gigwise.com - 4/5 - Magic Chairs strikes a rarely satisfying, pop-savvy balance between ambition and accessibility. In a word, magic.
Rock Sound - 9/10 - Nothing they do is ordinary and third album Magic Chairs is another demonstration of the Danish group´s astounding imagination and limitless talent.
Mojo - 4/5 - A miraculous conservatoire pop opus. If you prefer your pop progressive, this is for you
Drowned in Sound - 8/10 - For this record is one which plays with the timbres of the orchestra: violins, cellos, trombones, flutes, anything, and does so successfully, utilising the sounds to make something that draws on music hundreds of years old, and music years old, to create something else.
NME - 7/10 - This is the kind of record Coldplay and Brian Eno should have made
The Skinny - 4/5 - Highlights are near-impossible to isolate: Modern Drift sets the tone beautifully; I Was Playing Drums raises goosebumps with its melting strings and trickling piano; and Full Moon is eighties electro-pop filtered through a toyshop orchestra. But ask tomorrow and a different three will likely rise to the top, such is the richness of Magic Chairs’ magisterial elegance.
Artrocker - 4/5 - an intriguing listen
Clash - 8/10 - Paired down to their essence, this distilled Efterklang is premium strength stuff.
Mail On Sunday - 4/5 - Beautifully composed
The Guardian - Emotional music, full of subtle tension and lurking drama.
Epoch Times - 4/5 - they're back with an album that oozes class.
Onethirty BPM 8,4/10 - Efterklang have done something remarkable here. This is maybe the first great album of 2010
Rave Magazine - 4/5 - Excellent third album ... An authentic grower
MusicOMH - 4/5 - A very satisfying addition to an already impressive Efterklang discography
RockMidgets.com - 4/5 - comparisons don't really do them justice. Efterklang are one of those bands that even if you're not 'into it', you can understand why they're so respected.
NARC - 4/5 - the album ooze a majestic beauty
The 4O5 - 9/10 - Definately the best album I have heard thus far this year, and although it is early days, I am pretty certain it will remain high up there come the year's end.
Politiken - 5/6 - Et mageløst popalbum. Det er formidabelt i al sin komplekse enkelthed. Stå af radioræset. Lyt i stedet til Efterklangs musikbegavede omgang med popmusikkens traditioner.
Urban - 5/6 - Sommerfuglen med luft under vingerne
Gaffa - 5/6 - samtlige numre smyger sig kærligt gennem øregangene for at gå direkte i hjertekulen på lytteren ... Magic Chairs er stort set én lang stjernestund, hvor højdepunkterne er mange og langvarige, og den skønhed, der alle dage har kendetegnet orkestrets musik, er på ingen måde blevet mindre siden debuten.
Soundvenue - 5/6 - Det er umuligt ikke at lade sig rive med
Ekstrabladet - 5/6 - Endnu et kvantespring for Efterklang. Endnu et overraskende og overvældende udspil fra et orkester i konstant udvikling, som mestrer både det himmelstræbende og det jordnære.
Jyllandsposten - 5/6 - Efterklang formår som få andre orkestre at skabe et på én gang imødekommende og udfordrende udtryk
Information - trods indeværende års stadig pænt jomfruelige tilstand, taler vi allerede nu om en af årets såvel vigtigste som vægtigste skiver
Spirit (no) - 5/6 - Gyldne og magiske koringer sammen med strykere og en imponerende grunnmur av trommer og rytme, gjør at albumet treffer dig midt i hjertet