So we're back in the groove of writing about albums, and there are some key releases I need to catch up on before Christmas - whilst not getting too distracted by putting together our fabulous Nordic Indie Christmas playlist either. One of those albums was Phogg, which Harri covered yesterday, and of course I somehow have to work out how to cover Major Parkinson and even a belated Team Me review.
Of course you might spot a pattern already, Major Parkinson, Team Me and Phogg are 3 of Nordic Music Review's favourite bands, regularly appearing in our Albums of the Year list. And the simple reason for needing to cover Danefae in the same short space of time is because their debut album'Tro' (which means 'faith') is in many ways 'an equal' to all of those bands releases, an outstanding alternative post / prog rock album which has immediately also made Danefae one of my absolute favourite bands.
But there is one immediate complication for a detailed review, which is that I'm not that much of an expert on interpreting their Danish lyrics, for which I apologise. - although the theme of the album is around having faith in different things. But in many ways maybe that's one of the reasons why this album is so impressive, because I just feel the passion, the energy and sheer weight of the release, so much so that it becomes totally all consuming, irrespective of the fact that I'm missing out on the lyrics. And it's one of those albums which also really needs to be appreciated in its 'end to end' glory.
'Tro' will get you right from the opening I promise, because opening track 'Varme' is stunning, and I'm immediately transfixed by the vocals, that almost unworldly epic feel that bands such as Kalandra also manage so impressively. And it flows effortlessly into 'Skyer', fabulous contrasts between the searing and at times fierce guitars and subtle piano phrasing that float and drop like petals around the music.
It's those contrasts that make this album, and 'Eden' demonstrates this again, traditional folk influences balanced against metal forged guitars, the different shades of colour presenting an ever changing but always vivid picture, a kaleidoscope of genres. The beauty of the opening of 'Flugt' gives way to staccato guitars, and a crescendo to an almost anthemic rock climax, it must be a completely 'rocking' track live.
'Efterspil' is a magical piano ride, worthy of consideration as a composition in its own right, but flowing into 'Folder Mine Hænder' a reminder again that the full album has to be listened to, and the maybe Satie / Minimalist inspired melodies carry through the latter track, for me it's the highlight of the album. As for the rest, well the intense build up and dueting electric guitars of 'Trækker Vejret Langsomt' have a feeling that they're building to the climax of the album, but actually it's the atmospheric 'Var din Mund' that concludes, with a post rock wall of sound cutting to another gorgeous melody.
Danish Album of the Year? Post or Progressive Rock Album of the Year? Debut Album of the Year? Nordic Album of the Year? There's nothing worse than reviewers lazily quoting such things, but we are in December after all, and they're certainly on some very short shortlists for those (albeit made-up) titles. I certainly can't think of a new project that's burst on to the Nordic music scene with such an impressive debut, but does that kind of comparison matter? No, just listen to 'Tro' and enjoy it for what it is, a stunning achievement of an album that I pretty much guarantee you'll fall in love with.