NME (Magazine) - "[T]his debut under the Liima guise is a tightly wound, paranoid-sounding record where synths and percussion are packed claustrophobically together."
Audio Mixer: Francesco Donadello.
Danish indie electronic group Efterklang are typically known for their ambitious albums and performances that incorporate choirs, orchestras, and other grandiose, overwhelming arrangements. With side project Liima, the band's founding members (Casper Clausen, Mads Christian Brauer, and Rasmus Stolberg) embrace spontaneity while maintaining the vast scope of their usual work, even if it lacks the extravagant instrumentation. The project was formed when the trio were asked to be resident performers at Our Festival in Finland. The three musicians teamed up with notable Finnish jazz drummer Tatu Rönkkö, and the ad hoc quartet were given ten days to compose material for their performance. This ended up a success, and Liima continued working together and performing at festivals and venues throughout Europe. Eventually they traveled to Berlin and shaped their improvisatory performances into cohesive songs over the course of four days. The ten tracks on ii feature the type of delicate electronic textures and melodies typically associated with Efterklang, but with a bit more playfulness than their main group's recordings usually contain. On "Roger Waters," they bait classic rock royalty by nearly approximating the bassline to Pink Floyd's "Money," as well as its tricky time signature. The song also switches in and out of 4/4 time, and contains a screeching synthesizer solo mirroring "Money"'s saxophone solo. "Russians" has a loping drum machine beat along with a triumphant horn sample from a recording by Russian composer Aleksandra Pakhmutova. On "Woods," they unexpectedly hint at metal with sludgy, droning guitars, which are offset by intricate, cymbal-heavy percussion. Casper Clausen's vocals are passionate, yearning, and dramatic, but ultimately hopeful. His voice often soars like that of U2's Bono, but on songs like "Trains in the Dark," he has a bit more of a shadowy tone reminiscent of Dead Can Dance's Brendan Perry (which makes it fitting that this album was released by 4AD). The album ends on a bright yet longing note with "Change of Time," which feels like it could be some sort of jingle or television theme song. Liima still recognizably sounds like Efterklang, but it seems like there's less pressure for them to construct a monumental statement here, and the group seem to enjoy their freedom. ~ Paul Simpson