Album Reviews

VÃ¥r – No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers

on May 20, 2013, 12:00am
var-no-one-dances C+
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Have you ever been to Nangijala? The Copenhagen-based duo that makes up the core of VÃ¥r is banking on the fact that you haven’t. As Loke Rahbek and Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, of Sexdrome and Iceage respectively, take the requisite press tour before their debut full-length, they’ve made a number of references to a dour Swedish fairy tale called The Brothers Lionheart, where two young brothers conquer death to adventure in idyllic afterlife in a land called Nangijala.

According to Rahbek, that’s the world that he and Rønnenfelt were attempting to conjure with No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers. Though expanded to a four piece, which now includes fellow Copenhagen scenesters Kristian Emdal and Lukas Højlund, VÃ¥r still relies on the brotherly interplay between Rahbek and Rønnenfelt that provided the creative spark the after school recording project had to begin with. Though they never go as far as allowing their voices to occupy the same space, the contrast between Rahbek’s less practiced vocals (on “Pictures of Today/Victorial” and “The World Fell”) and Rønnenfelt’s now familiar adolescent croon lend the already damaged pop another world-weary layer.

But back, for a moment, to our Brothers Lionheart. The story ends not with peace but with a second round of deaths for the brothers, jumping off a cliff to embrace the land beyond Nangijala. Though No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers offers some tonal variance over its 32 minutes, “Katla”, the closer, finds the quartet offering up their final testament of shadowy romanticism. Languorous horns cry out just as Rønnenfelt offers one last gasp, trudging over a sonic cliff as steep as the one in the story. The Brothers Lionheart famously took heat over the rash of suicide notes in Sweden that made reference to heading to Nangijala. There’s this cool embrace of death, maybe even an advocacy of suicide, that underlies The Brothers Lionheart and in No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers, VÃ¥r has constructed a kindred document. Try not to get too bummed out.

Essential Tracks: “Katla” and “Into Distance”

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