“We have waited a while...still it’ll take us some time” begins “Meet and Greet.” Vocal harmonies ring out to the pulsing beat of a delayed floor tom. A guitar wakes up the reeds. The subtle organic percussion of handclaps punctuates the amplified air, the music becoming a distinct human synthesis. This is a pop song. This is Slaraffenland.
Based in Denmark, they embrace the art of shape, of space, and of slow gratification, hand-carving their sound with the diligence and artistry often associated with their nation’s design heritage. This year, Slaraffenland reintroduces themselves with the magnificent release of “We’re on Your Side.” The new LP and CD connects the points between stage and studio -- bringing Slaraffenland’s virtuosic musicianship, pop sensibility, emotional directness, compositional experimentalism, and the road-proven energy of their live performance into absolute, impeccable, and addictive focus.
Slaraffenland began as a whisper across the American landscape - a mysterious name, a menagerie of instruments, and the frontier of self-booked tours were the calling card this five-piece from Copenhagen. In what was like a reunion of long lost friends, Slaraffenland joined Hometapes in 2006, making their national debut at CMJ that year. Their groundbreaking album “Private Cinema” followed in 2007, lighting up the eyes of music listeners everywhere, Pitchfork declaring, “The album as a whole is a brave perambulation, drawing on the acidic thunderstorms and gorgeous lullabies” and Stereogum deeming Slaraffenland a “band to watch,” placing them alongside the likes of Vampire Weekend, Cold War Kids, and My Brightest Diamond on their curated tribute to Radiohead tribute, “OKX”). Driven by a choreographed concept (an abstracted map of the compositions hung on the recording studio door), the band’s first venture into vocal accompaniment (their first two self-released records were instrumental), and album packaging dreamed up by the world-famous Friends With You, “Private Cinema” was a bold statement. However, that was just the beginning.
The waves created by “Private Cinema” washed ashore in both the US and Europe, with Slaraffenland appearing at landmark festivals Roskilde, SPOT and SXSW in the following months. The year 2008 was highlighted by Slaraffenland’s US tour with countrymen/friends/collaborators Efterklang and the release of the “Sunshine” EP, a bona fide souvenir of their exuberant and prodigious live performances (see Brooklyn Vegan for a recount of their knockout Knitting Factory show in NY) and a sneak peek into the future of Slaraffenland -- and specifically, “We’re on Your Side.” “There is no doubt that the tours we’ve done in the US have made us a better band,” says Slaraffenland’s Mike Taagehøj. Limited to short tours in their home country, the American club scene has definitely played the role of the “sixth man” in the growth of Slaraffenland, who debuted songs from “We’re on Your Side” at their SXSW performances in 2009.
“We’re on Your Side” is housed in deluxe LP and CD packaging featuring the art of Cody Hudson (Chicago-based proprietor of Struggle Inc.).
released September 15, 2009
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