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Slaraffenland
We're On Your Side
Hometapes Records
www.home-tapes.com


Yes, I believe you, Slaraffenland, you are on our side. You are providing top shelf product. Dutch post-rock quintet Slaraffenland take us to a very special place with their third full length, We're On Your Side. Herein lies a mid-tempo bayou of unique guitar sounds punctuated by harmonic and percussive horn lines, ticky synth additives, droning vocal stylings (in the vein of Sunny Day Real Estate or Interpol) and highly adept trance-inducing drumming. Legato vocal harmonies (sung in English) haunt this album like Neutral Milk Hotel on morphine mixed with music like TV On The Radio on oxycontin with soft deep horns stringing out warm echoes. While some singers like to double their own voice in the studio, Slaraffenland needs not because the core of this band are identical twins Christian and Mike Taagehøj. The songs are drawn-out like fractals painted by an abstract expressionist. The band does not drag though; they wash you in a warm wave of interlocking polyrhythmic rock.

"Meet And Greet" shows up as the single pick with its driving pulse and hand clapping, putting some interesting new touches on the shoegazer genre. It reminds me of Yume Bitsu with vocals. The entire album is diffuse in its minor tonality yet not dismal or pitiful. "Stars And Smiles" shines with wanderlust saxophone and softly scraping steely guitar while Slaraffenland wistfully sing of perseverance and hint that when all looks dim the stars shine the brightest. The emotions here are more complex than typical rock. The ambiguous lyrics are philosophical even when speaking in clichés such as "you're petrified like a deer/caught in the glare of headlights/remove the mask that you wear/it's invisible anyway/open your eyes/open your eyes" in "Open Your Eyes."

We're On Your Side is wonderfully germane on rainy days, [while] reading lengthy insular hardbacks and drinking lush red wines. Slaraffenland means "the land of milk and honey" in Danish and their music reflects those pleasant and rich products while their lyrics pine for the lofty ideals of such a place. Very few bands can find the balance of relaxing and engaging music but they pull it off flawlessly. Their music is very much rooted in the New York subtle rock revival scene of the 00's but will remain solid into the next decade.

-Joe Martinez

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