Vår

No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers

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For Ice Age's first album, Elias Bender Rønnefelt channeled the British punk groups Warsaw and Wire. His side project Vär, with Loke Rahbek (of Sexdrome), Kristian Emdal (of Lower), and Lukas Højland, follows the trajectory of those bands, sounding now like a cross between Joy Division and the Wire side project He Said. Like the pre-industrial bands of the '80s and goth groups of this era, the mood of No One Dances Quite Like my Brothers is gloomy, morose, and borderline abrasive, but there are also sparkling aspects of dance melodies. "The World Fell" builds on a punchy beat with distorted drones and synths rolling behind bombastic, synth pop vocals. Sacred Bones is a perfect home for the band, with its roster of crunchy, lo-fi groups drenched in distortion and reverb. However, like a lot of the Brooklyn label's releases, a little goes a long way, and Vär tend to veer away from traditional music and toward the experimental side. Much of the album meanders and loses focus (several songs are rhythmless, based on long drones or deconstructed almost to the point of falling off the rails). When the band hit their mark, as they do when "Pictures of Today/Victory" ramps up, or with the strident, beat-heavy march of "Motionless Duties," it makes the process of digging through the rest of the scuzz worthwhile. The vocal interplay between the yelpy-voiced Iceage singer and the mundane asides of Loke Rahbek keep things entertaining, while additional percussion (courtesy of glass breaking or the slamming of sheet metal) and overdubbed horns add a sense of instrumental realness that gives them an edge over many darkwave acts.

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