If there's one thing I've learned from paying close attention to Efterklang from about the time I discovered them back in 2010, it's that the trio contains some of the most top shelf taste both in terms of collaborators and in general music likes. Their touring members have consisted of absolutely amazing musicians in their own right: Budgie, Heather Woods Broderick, Peter Broderick, and now you can add Nashville singer/songwriter Daniel James aka Canon Blue to that list.
Touring with Efterklang in support of their excellent Magic Chairs afforded Canon Blue's sophomore album Rumspringa with an absolutely amazing production team that not only included Efterklang but Sigur Ros' go to string section Amiina. The result - an orchestral pop album of stately beauty that certainly doesn't skimp on the pop element. So intrinsically intertwined, Rumspringa combines the majestic grandeur of a fully flushed out string section with undeniable danceability or just good old fashioned ear-catching infectiousness.
Even stripped of Rumspringa's legion of masterful musicians, Daniel James has an abundant wealth of musical ideas and skilled effective delivery. Just take the Chris Taylor (of Grizzly Bear) assisted debut Colonies which contrasts stark textures and introspective lyricism with the telltale signs of poppiness that would flourish into Rumspringa. The leap from arty to accessibility is not unlike Efterklang's occurring at a slightly quicker pace. It's enough to make me positively giddy to see what he'll do on the next Canon Blue album. Hopefully it's not too long before then.
Now and for a limited time you can snag a free download of Rumspringa with some extra goodies (b-sides, sketches, remixes, etc.) from Noisetrade. Do it.