After 13 years and 3 earlier albums, Efterklang really have found something remarkable in their fourth effort Piramida. Recorded in an abandoned mining town on an island somewhere between Norway and the North Pole, the songs feature hundreds of synthed-up and distorted samples of their surroundings – everything from footsteps on pebble beaches to the wonky notes of a lonely, neglected grand piano – and sounds as cinematic as the setting suggests.
Ranging from sounding like a Hanz Zimmer film score (think True Romance) to full on bouncy indie pop, Efterklang were dreamy and expansive in ambition and sound; I had to check myself at one point to make sure I would remember any of it for review, it just sucked you in and wrapped you in clouds of synthesized marimbas and a cappella harmonies. Song transitions were likeably filled with Danish lilting banter, gifts to the crowd of acquired t-shirts and postcards, and a small sound system hiccup was used to sing Happy Birthday to the sound engineer. The set was beautifully constructed and arranged and the moustachioed, bow-tied bassist made me fall in love just a little bit.
Excellent support from Anna von Hausswolff was more chill-out than warm-up, her haunting, echoey vocals more powerful than her size would suggest. Understandably less polished than the headliners, she’s like a tiny, Swedish Kate Bush, with much promise.
Efterklang are hitting pretty much every German festival this Summer, but you can catch them back on these shores at Latitude in July or End of the Road and Moseley Folk Festival in August. No doubt this won’t be the last we see of them and hopefully not their last time in Oxford. Piramida is out now.