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Copenhagen - Tales from the Forest

  by John Clarkson

published: 17 / 12 / 2001

Copenhagen - Tales from the Forest
Label: Flower Shop
Format: CD


Copenhagen are a unique rarity, a complete one-off of a group with a hugely distinctive sound that can be listened to at a variety of different levels. The eight piece mini orchestra's debut album 'Ta

Copenhagen are a unique rarity, a complete one-off of a group with a hugely distinctive sound that can be listened to at a variety of different levels. The eight piece mini orchestra's debut album 'Tales from the Forest' strikingly combines jazz with pop, and stands up to repeated hearing after hearing, simply because one is able to pluck something new to enjoy from its impressive sound with each new listening. Perhaps it may be Kirsa Wilkenschildt's tingling vibraphone and tender keyboard work which with John Emmerson's precise and dapper double bass playing forms a solid backdrop to the band's sound. Maybe too it might be Andy Thompson's light brush stroke drum work ; the classically trained John Hutchinson's pealing trumpet or former Jack member Ruth Gottlieb's searing strings, each of which surge and dip in and out of the fore of the album's mix. Maybe again also it might be the group's three vocalists, two of whom, identical twins Jacqui and Pauline Cuff ,were former disco divas with the early nineties dance act Soho and whose honey-drenched vocals complement and contrast superbly with the gravel-throated, smoky yearnings of the band's lyricist and songwriter, Neil G. Henderson. Copenhagen first formed in 1999, and signed two months later to an alternative, small London label Super 8 Recordings, with whom they released two EPs. The first of these, 'Raining Again', came out in July 2000 and won a Mojo Single of the Month award, while the latter, 'Home', which again received much critical acclaim, was released in January. For 'Tales from the Forest' , the band have switched labels to the larger and more prolific Flower Shop Recordings, which, once more based in London, also has on its roster the art rock projects Elysian Fields and Sophia, both of whom have recently also received Pennyblackmusic reviews. 'Tales from the Forest' consists of eleven entirely new songs, and a full band reworking of one other song, 'Afterstorm', which appeared on the 'Home' EP and featured just Henderson on vocals and Wilkenschildt on piano. It takes it name because the Sunderland born Henderson and the Danish Wilkenschildt were both brought up near forests and spent a lot of time as children there. Many of Henderson's evocative lyrics, have a strange, surreal, old-world quality that is haunting in the same way as a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Nature-fields as well as forests, flowers, trees, the birds in the sky, the night-too has an integral part to play. The chilling 'Violets' has the Cuffs singing as one returning to the woodlands glade of their childhood, where it is revealed by Henderson in a dervish chorus that they have perished. The bittersweet 'Summer's Gone' meanwhile describes the changing of the season into autumn and the passing of a love affair in which it is revealed in the last stanza as a melancholic Henderson stands shivering by a headstone that his love has died. 'Poison Kiss', however, chronicles the afterpains anguish of a cuckolded lover, while the echo-tinged 'Blanket Show', which features the Cuffs alone on eerie vocals, captures a twilight state between sleep and consciousness in which the demons and the ghosts of yesteryear won't go away, and acts as a summary for the whole album, mourning for an innocence and a childhood that has been lost. Like the Bathers, the Blue Nile and their Flower Shop label mates Sophia, Copenhagen have reworked the traditional rock format and have reinvented it as something which is entirely original and completely of their own. The effects are both splendid and stunning.

Track Listing:-
1 5-Year Diary
2 Summer's Gone
3 Poison Kiss
4 Happy Ever After
5 Hoffmann
6 Violets
7 Afterstorm
8 Blanket Show
9 Beech Tree
10 Old Town Bar
11 Holy

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Interview (2005)
Copenhagen - Interview
Evocative and haunting, Copenhagen are one of the more unorthodox bands based in London. Dominic Simpson speaks to members Neil Henderson and Kirsa Wilkenschildt about the group's confessional, orchestral baroque sound and their new album, 'Sweet Dreams'
Interview (2002)

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