Under Byen

Samme Stof Som Stof

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With the rise of groups such as Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Sigur Rós come more textured, orchestrated bands following in their footsteps. Under Byen is such a group, although lead singer Henriette Sennenvalt's fragile delivery on "Pilot" sounds as if it's Björk or PJ Harvey fronting the Sugarcubes. Delicate and yet quite intricate, the song takes on a dreamy but gritty tone as Sennenvalt guides things along à la Nico steering a Velvet Underground number. A slow, creeping song ensues titled "Den Her Sang Handler Om at Få Det Bedste Ud Af Det" which saunters along before strings and more instruments give it a different sonic hue. While pretty, it also takes on a slightly somber tone at times, particularly thanks to the combination of Thorbjørn Krogshede's piano and Nils Grøndahl's violin accompaniment, which builds and builds into a very lush and enjoyable coda. Meanwhile, the group takes on a very ethereal, innocent, child-like approach to the moody and barren "Tindrer" that is a slower, somber effort and has the feeling of music coming from a deranged music box dancer. From there, the band shine on another odd, quirky and arty piece called "Heftig" that could be mistaken for a cover of a Tom Waits track. It also evolves into a haunting, spooky, primal sound that is a distant cousin of "Heela" from PJ Harvey's Dance Hall at Louse Point. Perhaps the highlight of the record is the epic "Film Og Omvendt" which could be construed as some film noir score. Here, Under Byen reinvent themselves for a jazz-tinged arrangement that again shows Sennenvalt's precious pipes before it drives headlong into a rock-oriented format. The album shines mainly due to its often gentle, angelic approach, as is the case with "Siamesisk" which resembles Massive Attack. Things take a slightly different turn with the urgent, independent rock style of "Palads." Overall, Samme Stof Som Stof is an extremely accomplished album.

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