They do say never to judge a book by it’s cover, and I’ve learnt the same applies to album covers. When the cd was passed across the table and I found myself looking into a pale blue eye that adorns the album cover I immediately thought “dance band”, it’s going to be an album of dance, trance and music not out of place from a 90’s movie soundtrack.
How wrong I was and, happily, how surprised I was to discover an album from a five-piece Danish band whose music tiptoes from tender and quiet moments to rousing fanfare to match anything the harsh North Sea can muster. Actually the country comes through in the music, it’s obvious that these songs weren’t written surrounded by concrete high-rise blocks of flats or the restraints of city life, with words like “stars”, “meadows”, “tide”, “horses” and “river” appearing in the titles, this is music with breadth and space that inner city life doesn’t give, you can almost taste the sea air.
Much of the attention surrounding this band focuses on singer and songwriter Maria Malmoe. It’s understandable, her voice shows vulnerability and is like crystal; shining, precious and fragile but also hard, strong and sharp-edged but a special mention should go to drummer Andreas Skamby whose work on this album is fantastic, drifting into jazz patterns and conjuring up epic, dramatic passages on the albums standout song ‘The Way’.
The music drifts from the dreamy, fairy tale territory of opener ‘Breaking’ to a sweet, folky love song called ‘You’ which also acts as an introduction to the band allowing the music to build nicely at the chorus and giving each musician room and space to breath, it’s a tough thing to do, but the song benefits from this calmness (and, radio presenters take note, would be a great track to play on a lazy Sunday morning radio show). Title track ‘We Come From The Stars’ delivers an almost hypnotic vocal performance, add some slide guitar and a gentle rain storm in the recording and you’ve got a strong track reminding us that there is more to us than just blood and bone.
Tracks ‘The Way’ and ‘Time And Tide Wait For No man’ take the music into a more powerful, cinematic area, at a little over six minutes long ‘The Way’ is a brooding giant bringing to mind images of a marching army while the cleverly produced ‘Time and Tide….’ sounds like it was recorded within earshot of a blacksmiths forge, rhythmic taps and chinks of metal play in the background before changing rhythm and morphing into the sound of clockwork, a clever nod to the song title.
I’ve only highlighted a small part of what is on offer here but this is an intelligent band, led by an intelligent writer and well worth repeat listens.