Vår: No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers – album review

Vår ‘No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers’ (Sacred Bones)
CD/LP/DL
Available now

Vår are the latest group to emerge from the vibrant Copenhagen music scene, primarily comprising of Elias Rønnenfelt of Iceage and Loke Rahbek of Sexdrome. While Iceage are all punk and guitars and are usually found courting controversy by flirting with fascist imagery and selling knives at gigs, Vår concern themselves with electronica and homoerotic imagery. Elias and Loke have released numerous photos of themselves kissing each other and the video for ‘In Your Arms’ features a lot of bare male skin.

For anyone who has heard either of the two Iceage albums, ‘New Brigade’ and ‘You’re Nothing’, there is no surprises when it comes to Elias’s vocal delivery, it’s as dark, direct and deep as it always was. Musically there is a great difference though, no loud guitars or wild drums, just heavy electronics, dark misty synthesisers and a sometimes desolate spooky tone, reminiscent of dark 80s synth music.

They themselves refer to Vår as more of an extension of their own relationship with each other than just a musical project and you can certainly hear this in the music, its sounds immediate and intimate. Whereas other electronic synth bands may sound a little weak and fey, Vår sound fierce and intense, helped in part by Elias and his vocal style. ‘Begin To Remember’ kicks off the album with a droning, slow, almost funereal sound as Elias drags out every word for as long as is humanly possible.

It’s the second track though, ‘The World Fell’, which really showcases the potential of the group, the thudding beat and the electronics combine to create a hypnotic and strangely romantic feel. It sounds part the Cure and part New Order. Not every song manages to combine so successfully the industrial with the romantic though; ‘Hair Like Feathers’ builds and builds, but in the end nothing comes of it, leaving a slight emptiness, this is the exception rather than the rule though.

An interesting feature of the album is its mirrored sleeve, which of course doesn’t really work digitally, Loke explains “The cover is a mirror and thus changes with whoever is holding it. Looking at it, you are the cover. Music to remind you to be as pretty as possible.”

That might all sound a little pretentious but these guys are believable, and who cares anyway? This album is a beautifully dark and sinister affair, and although they’re yet to perform in Britain, their live videos online look like similarly intense and sweaty encounters. The overall feeling you get after listening to the album is one of doom but at the same time you feel like a voyeur, as if you have just had an insight into an intimate relationship between two people, Elis and Loke.

Tracklisting:
1.Begin to Remember
2.The World Fell
3.No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers
4.Motionless Duties
5.Hair Like Feathers
6.Pictures of Today / Victorial
7.Boy
8.Into Distance
9.Katla

All words by Ryan Gumbley. More writing by Ryan can be found in his author archive.

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