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.
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