Slaraffenland - We're On Your Side
Craig Broad 02/04/2010
Slaraffenland are, yes you've guess it, a quirky pop band from the colder climates of Europe. Denmark if you haven't guessed. They also are friends with Efterklang, which wouldn't be difficult to guess either given the locality of them both and both their musical directions. 'We're On Your Side', is their third full length album following 'Private Cinema' and their self released debut 'Slaraffenland'.
As well as being collaborators with Efterklang, it is quite obvious that they share the same pop sensibilities as well. Drums are fairly driven, working around tribal melodies but feel spaced and clear so that they can bring out instruments like trumpets, shown deliciously on lead single 'Meet And Greet'. Guitars are bright and bouncy, showing very little aggressive punch but entwine and develop with both the drums and the occasional impressive audible bass lines. Vocally, Slaraffenland very rarely move from that Scandinavian pop feel, which in very Efterklang fashion, is slow, haunting and perhaps even with roots in folk influences, but with brilliantly visual lyrics.
Anyone reading this, will perhaps say, stop mentioning Efterklang, even the band might say it but they are so painfully alike at times, it is hard not to. On songs like 'Stars and Smiles' they branch out slightly, with a dirtier use of tone, that overall adds a foot tapping element to it making them more accessible. 'Postcard' is also a stand out track, sounding slightly in parts akin to the new Yeasayer album with funky bass at the forefront, it is upbeat and infectious, pushing the album up an extra gear before its finish which is a delicate and beautiful song called 'Away' filled to the brim with hand claps and absolutely breath taking keyboard melodies, really one to admire.
I like Slaraffenland, much like I like Efterklang and many others like them. There is just something about these Scandinavian 'experimental' pop acts that draw me in but I can't help but say "if only". If only, there was more experimentation in terms of tempo and perhaps even in terms of melodic hooks because at times, these songs just need a massive chorus, or to just go anywhere at all.
But, if like me, you like Efterklang, you won't find these half bad at all.