Label: 4AD Release date: 22/02/2010 Website: Official Site MP3: Modern Drift New album Magic Chairs by Danish orchestral delights Efterklang, is their third release, and the first for 4AD, the record label renowned for The Mountain Goats amongst others. On an initial listening and indeed everytime I come back to Magic Chairs I am drawn to compare the vocal efforts of frontman Capser Clausen to someone like Owen Pallett, another genius creator of spellbinding orchestral arrangements. What makes the album so appealing is the perfect marriage between lyrics and music. Expressed simply and lightly over the intense instrumentation it is the music that really carries the album. Not to suggest the lyrics are meaningless but the meld of the orchestral, electronia, post-pop which Efterklang have made their own is really their wow factor all by its pretty little self...everything else is simply an added (and very much welcomed) bonus. You can see how the band have taken their token sound and channelled it into something accessible and still very much their own with this release, in much the same way that Grizzly Bear managed on Veckatimest. As the band themselves state "the songs draw inspiration from pop song structures". There is an undoubted prettiness about everything on this album, even tracks like "I Was Playing Drums", which lean more toward post-rock than pop, fade into mesmerising string arrangements and lush vocals. "Harmonics" has something of the harmonizing of Dirty Projectors about it, though slightly more pleasing on the ears, Dodos style percusive drumming features on "Mirror Mirror", I hear bits of Sufjan Stevens in certain tracks too, in others an almost Andrew Bird influence, especially in the classically inspired violin on "Natural Tune". All these comparisons aside the album is still a natural progression for Efterklang and one that seems to be a welcomed development of style for longstanding fans as well as new listeners. 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. Photobucket