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Efterklang - Bush Hall, London, 23/11/2007

  by Anthony Dhanendran

published: 23 / 11 / 2007

Efterklang - Bush Hall, London, 23/11/2007


Anthony Dhanendran finds Norwegian group Efterklang's strange combination of grandeur and intimacy a compelling experience at the Bush Hall in London

Parts of Efterklang's recent album, 'Parades', come across very much like the Arcade Fire, but an Arcade Fire born of Nordic austerity rather than North American showmanship. The band share a starkness with their near neighbours Sigur Ros, although they inhabit a melodic world, compared to the sparse, rhythmic universe of Sigur Ros. Over half of the songs they're playing tonight at Bush Hall are from 'Parades', and they fit in well with the hall's Edwardian splendour. The enthusiastic crowd lap it all up, from opener 'Polygene' (the first track on the new album) right through to encore 'Chapter 6'. The band's earlier material is much more in the realm of what you might call electronica, with elements, even, of that dread word 'glitch'. As they've gained in confidence and joint ability, the songs have become more pronounced, more lush, more fulfilled, but it could be argued – as many people did when 'Parades' appeared – that they have lost some of their charm in the process. There are elements of that stripped-back ethos in their second song of the set, 'Himmelbjerget', from the also recent record 'Under Giant Trees'. But it's the one that follows that, early track 'Swarming, that really shows how much has changed. On record is sounds like Autechre, but live tonight the skeleton of the song has been covered over with a lush instrumentation. After that come a slew of tracks from 'Parades', culminating in the superb 'Cutting Ice to Snow'. While the older tracks, on record at least, tend to work best on a pair of headphones in a dimly lit room, the newer songs, particularly those from 'Parades', are much more at home in a hall such as this, and the Bush Hall's combination of a certain majesty with a definite intimacy suits the band well. They've dressed for the occasion, too, in what appears to be a pastiche of various central European and Scandinavian national dresses, and when they break out the sleigh bells for one of the tracks, you know that they see it as a special event too. In the end, the enthusiasm of the band and the enthusiasm of the crowd mean that, even for those of us unfamiliar with the songs, it's hard not to get drawn into the Efterklang experience, which, on a cold November night, is bringing some warmth to Shepherd's Bush.

Picture Gallery:-
Efterklang - Bush Hall, London, 23/11/2007

Efterklang - Bush Hall, London, 23/11/2007

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