CD Review: Slaraffenland

We're on Your Side (Hometapes)

This Danish quintet debuted in the U.S. in 2007 with Private Cinema, a well-received brew of proggy post-punk. Although Slaraffenland had formed in 2001, Cinema belied their experience by being a little unfocused, veering wildly between styles and lacking in consistency. The band evinces some growth on We're on Your Side, with far sharper songs and a tighter instrumental approach. The band is nothing if not ambitious: "Too Late to Think" incorporates a krautrock-lite arrangement with an interesting horn chart, and the bouncy "Postcard" proves that there are some mid-'90s post-rock fans in Copenhagen. Instrumentally, there's a lot to like in complex numbers like "Hunting" and the excellent "Long Gone." The problem is the band's over-reliance on gang vocals. Instead of one member assuming frontman duties, the entire quintet shouts along on every song. Eventually, the effect is tiresome and often misplaced, with tracks like the midtempo "Stars and Smiles" practically begging for a singular voice. All that hollering is the downfall of this otherwise fine album. No one likes to be yelled at. Chris Drabick