Vår consists of four Danish musicians, three of which are members of other bands in the current Copenhagen punk scene. The most notable of these is Elias Rønnefelt of Iceage, who swaps his raucous guitars for experimental synths in Vår’s debut album. If Iceage’s inspiration is British punk circa 1976, then Vår jump five years and concentrate on the post-punk scene that followed it.
The band’s first single, ‘Brodermordet’, hinted at industrial noise-rock, but next single ‘In Your Arms’ was a stunning example of Cure-inspired melancholy. No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers follows in this manner, with influences ranging from Wire to Joy Division (post-punk review bingo).
As over-used and cliché the Joy Division comparison is, opening track, ‘Begin To Remember’, could quite easily be the brother of Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’. Driven forward by tribal drumming and wistful vocals, it’s one of the best songs of the year so far.
The title track is an odd but brilliant spoken word track played over a background of eerie synths and factory noises. ‘Hair Like Feathers’ is a distorted pop song, similar to anything that Pere Ubu have ever released, while ‘Pictures Of Today / Victorial’ is a huge synth-pop song, think Crystal Castles but not as annoying or average. ‘Into Distance’ would have fit very nicely onto Wire’s Pink Flag, with urgent screeching guitars and a prominent bassline.
However, the album is not all doom and gloom. ‘Motionless Duties’ sees Rønnefelt doing his best Robert Smith impression, with a chorus not dissimilar to a slowed down ‘Just Like Heaven’. ‘The World Fell’ continues the occasionally upbeat side to the album with what is essentially a disco track. If Ocean played this instead of Rihanna, the world would be a considerably better place.
No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers is the next masterful album to emerge from Copenhagen’s burgeoning music scene. It is easy to criticise Vår for wearing their influences so openly on their sleeves, but what is important here is just how good they are at transforming these influences into making an album that is entirely their own, and could well be one of the best of the year.
…Alex is listening to Sparklehorse – Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot…