Last year, the Danish trio behind Efterklang — Casper Clausen, Rasmus Stolberg, and Mads Brauer — unveiled Liima, a new band with Finnish percussionist (and Efterklang touring drummer) Tatu Rönkkö. Having originated as a one-off collaboration, it had grown into a project allowing them to explore new sonic territory and a different songwriting approach than in Efterklang. Born from spontaneity and improvisation via a series of writing residencies in cities across Europe, their debut ii was a collection dominated by hyperactive rhythms and loopy synths, experimentation wrangled into something resembling pop forms on standouts like “Amerika.” It was one of the most underrated releases of 2016. When I spoke to the band last fall, they had continued this residency system, and it had already resulted in enough material for a second album, much of which they were already playing when I saw them at Iceland Airwaves in November.
Today, Liima’s announcing the end result: their sophomore album, 1982, which they co-produced with Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor. The album art — the darkened silhouette of a retro-futuristic cityscape emblazoned with bold red writing — already suggests a far different vibe than ii and, sure enough, the album finds Liima delving further into new directions and honing their sound. Compared to the frantic, percussive pulse than ran through much of ii, 1982 often possesses a spaced-out funkiness, or songs that crest on big, lush synth patterns while remaining enigmatic — like flickering-then-glistening transmissions from a pop station in an imagined near future. It’s a hell of an album.
Along with the announcement, Liima have shared the video for the 1982’s lead single and opening title track. The song kicks off the record with a stuttering snare hit that drops you immediately into a huge, keening synth line. (It’s not unlike how My Bloody Valentine’s classic Loveless opener “Only Shallow” works, but obviously not as unnerving.) “1982” is one of the catchier, more direct songs these guys have ever written, either for Liima or for Efterklang — all overwhelming, dramatic waves of synth textures and crooning-then-swelling vocals and giant drum sounds that suggest the year of the song’s namesake without going full retro, twisting familiar elements into something halfway-alien and gorgeous. Fittingly, it’s accompanied by a trippy video that uses primitive graphics to flip from dystopian skylines to the kind of scenes you might find in a vintage ’80s video game. Check it out below.
02 “David Copperfield”
03 “Life Is Dangerous”
04 “People Like You”
06 “Kirby’s Dream Land”
07 “Jonathan, I Can’t Tell You”
08 “My Mind Is Yours”
European tour dates (supporting Grizzly Bear):
10/04 Dublin, Ireland @ Vicar Street
10/05 Dublin, Ireland @ Vicar Street
10/06 Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
10/08 Glasgow, UK @ O2 ABC
10/09 London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
10/10 Bexhill-On-Sea, UK @ De La Warr Pavilion
10/12 Berlin, Germany @ Columbiahalle
10/13 Utrecht, Netherlands @ Tivole Vredenburg
10/14 Brussels, Belgium @ Ancienne Belgique
10/16 Paris, France @ Olympia
1982 is out 11/3 via City Slang. Pre-order it here.