It’s not that easy to specify the phenomenon of this band called EF but as they are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, it’s first of all time to send them a heartfelt: hats-off! Ceremonies is their fourth full-length now, following last year’s EP Delusions of Grandeur and – to put it simply – it’s as typically EF as it is unusually outstanding. And to stand out is the one thing that’s hard enough to achieve amidst a redundant genre like postrock. It is with great satisfaction, that we see and hear one of the most hardworking bands in Europe improve and shape their vision of touching rock music. Because, that is for sure: to get to the point where EF are now, has little to do with luck or waiting for inspiration; Ceremonies is the result of passion, craftsmanship and a certain amount of stubbornness.
One has to keep in mind that postrock once used to be all about experimenting with sounds and a different approach towards classical songstructures. Sometimes, it’s hard to recall the times in which this was new, refreshing and exciting. The strength of good postrock nowadays lies within exactly that: recalling what made it special in the first place. It’s all about pushing the boundaries and it’s absolutely not about repeating the old build-up-and-explode-game over and over again. In that sense, EF once again made some very good decisions concerning their fourth record. Starting out with some shy piano-moments, Bells Bleed & Bloom instantly unleashes a a feeling of gentle excitement for the things to come. Postrock-aficionados might know what I’m talking about, since we’ve heard dozens and dozens of build-ups starting like this, haven’t we? And of course EF are slowly working their way up to some irresistible climaxes. But they do it by constantly letting their detailed compositions play with swell and decay. You’ll never know if there’s some explosion coming or not. Besides, and this might be one of the most striking developments, Tomas Torsson’s voice is in an unusual prominent position throughout Ceremonies. The casually improved singing, which sometimes, especially in Delusions of Grandeur, even is reminiscent of LOGH‘s haunting voices, adds lots of new textures onto EF‘s nonetheless epic soundscapes. At times, they might be closer to IMMANU EL‘s ambient dream-pop now than ever, but that doesn’t mean that they forgot how to celebrate their little outbursts now and then.
What EF did here is exciting, and that’s what makes Ceremonies an outstanding postrock-record once again. It’s surely not as heavy and it’s definitely not as spaced-out as others, but it’s a gentle yet likewise challenging listening experience. Honestly, screw the clichés, there’s always a truth to them, right?! It’s time for some celebration. So get some red wine, let the sad birds sing us a tune, let’s watch thunderstorms and cheer us up with extremes. Swedish postrock-grands EF are celebrating their anniversary and we are invited to celebrate with them! Ceremonies is pretty much everything we loved about postrock in the first place: beauty and apocalypse, wideness and meticulousness. And at the same time, it is a conscious step away from some limiting factors, and a step foward onto some new areas to work on. This feels like a soft caesura in EF‘s work – maybe a wise decision for a band as established in the underground as they are.