Under Review

Under Byen

Siamesisk [Paper Bag]

Review By Adam Simpkins


This 2007 live recording of Denmark’s Under Byen’s collaboration with renowned chamber orchestra Danish Radio Sinfonietta should come as no surprise to anyone already familiar with the Nordic post-rockers’ knack for the portentous and symphonic. Even on their own terms, the eight-member strong band is known for its classically-tinged epics that echo the ethereal and grandiose works of Sigur Rós, Mogwai, and Björk. But with a 42-piece classical orchestra backing them up, Under Byen’s already larger-than-life compositions are expanded to even loftier heights. The addition of the Sinfonietta brings new life to the band’s material, much in the same way it has previously reinvented the concertos of Schumann and Mozart. Though what’s odd about Siamesisk, and ultimately a bit disappointing, is its brief running-time and track selection. With only five songs, four of which are taken from the band’s last record (2006’s Samme Stof Som Stof), and rounding out at a paltry thirty minutes, it’s questionable why the band didn’t further exploit this unique opportunity to play with such a variety of talented musicians. It’s unfortunate that at the same moment the work as a whole swells and coalesces, the band is moments away from taking its final bows for the evening.