Friday, 2 October 2009

reviews: califone, paper planes, efterklang

some more reviews from the skinny, reproduced here for your reading pleasure...

Califone - All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

Such a vast variety of instruments crop up on Califone’s sixth album that to list them all would fill this review’s entire word count, leaving no space to eulogise the way its multifarious and ambitious ingredients are weaved into an incessantly inventive whole. Sweetly simple and Elliott Smith-like one moment, murky and abstract another, and like Four Tet playing Wilco covers at another still, there’s a rewarding inquisitiveness at work throughout. Lyrically, occasional high-cultural allusions and mysterious plotlines add charm rather than pomposity, while purposeful melodies display a keen pop nous that plays off against their more unorthodox tendencies superbly. Intriguingly, the album is only half the story: ringleader Tim Ritili has also been working on a feature film of the same name, incorporating many of the record’s themes and characters and aiming to premiere in 2010. The promise of equally evocative images accompanying this record’s sizable charms is tantalising indeed.

out 5th October

Paper Planes - Doris Day (****)

The multinational Paper Planes are three quarters Scottish, one quarter American. One listen to Doris Day and you’ll probably have a hunch as to which member hails from across the Atlantic, Jennifer Paley’s rawk-yelps closely redolent of Karen O’s. Paley isn’t the bands’ only import, however, with the Scottish contingent making a fair old racket packed with rockabilly swagger and rollicking rock 'n' roll thrills, which sound more like the product of fifties-style diners and road trips to the coast than drizzle and grey skies. This is an exciting, eye-opening debut from a band already displaying vast promise.

Out 12th October

Efterklang & the Danish National Chamber Orchestra - Performing Parades (****)

When orchestras and pop (in the loosest sense) collide, the results tend to be either peculiarly misjudged (say, Metallica’s S&M) or pleasant-but-pointless (any earnest attempt to dodge ennui with strings). Efterklang’s Performing Parades pleasingly falls into the elusive third category, in which the instrumental depth only found in a roomful of top class musicians enriches the songs. A reworking of Parades arranged in collaboration with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, this is music from another star, bubbling with complementary refrains and topped with charming eccentricities. Moreover, an accompanying DVD offers promos, a making-of, and best of all, the full concert film: what impressed on CD astonishes when combined with the sight of fifty artists resembling constituents of Much Ado’s enchanted forest, in conical hats and dabbed face paint. The DVD pushes the package from curio to essential for existing Efterklang fans, and marks them an overdue discovery for anyone else.

Out 19th October

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