May 31, 2008

Transparent Lilies (Diafana Krina) - Silence Gives the Odour of Wild Cherries

Artist:Transparent Lilies (Diafana Krina)
Album: Silence Gives the Odour of Wild Cherries
Year: 2000
Genre:Rock, Alternative

Diafana Krina were created in 1991. Their name stands for “transparent lilies” in Greek. Their music is similar to bands like Tindersticks and Sigur Ros. In 1994, they released their first single ‘Λιώνοντας μόνος-κάτω από το ηφαίστειο’ (Greek for “Melting alone-under the volcano”) by Wipe Out. They followed in 1996 with the LP ‘Έγινε η απώλεια συνήθειά μας’. In 1997, they participated in the ‘Rock of Gods’ festival in Athens together with The Sisters of Mercy and New Model Army. In 1998, they released their second LP ‘Κάτι σαράβαλες καρδιές’ and performed in several concerts around Greece including acting as support for the Tindersticks Athens concert. In 2000, they released a single ‘Είναι που όλα ήρθαν αργά’ and album ‘Ευωδιάζουν αγριοκέρασα οι σιωπές’. In 2001 they appeared in three concerts in the UK (London at Dingwalls, Manchester at The Roadhouse and Brighton at Concorde 2). In 2003, the LP ‘Ο,τι απόμεινε απ’ την ευτυχία’ was released, followed by the 2005 instumental LP ‘Ο γύρος της μέρας σε 80 κόσμους’ (Greek for “Around the day in 80 worlds”, inspired by the title of Jules Verne’s famous story Around The World In 80 Days) which was released together with a book containing poetry and tales.

The lead singer has a rich baritone with a natural vibrato, which has led to comparisons with English-language singers such as Stewart Staples of Tinderbox (a group that Diafana Krina opened for in an Athens concert in 2003), or perhaps Leonard Cohen or Lee Hazelwood.

"…And even if I get gloomy my love, don’t be afraid of me, because silence gives off a sweet smell of wild cherries"

"I can remember a time, not long ago, when every album in my collection that had lyrics was in English. I scoffed at the idea of rock music in other languages. Remember those Russian metal bands of the glasnost era? Exactly. In recent months, however, my chauvinism has been ruthlessly chiseled away. First Sigur Ros, and now Diafana Krina have proven to me that anglophony is not a prerequisite for making great music.
Diafana Krina may be Greek, but don't look for bouzoukis here. The band is composed of a standard five-piece lineup, with Thanos Anestopoulos, the singer, doubling on keyboards and guitarist Nick Bardis blowing a mean trumpet. The instrumentation is, however, the only thing about this album that is standard.
Silence Gives The Odour of Cherries is the band's third full-length, and it finds the group at the height of their powers. Their sound is one part The Cure and two parts Bends-era Radiohead, shaken lightly and poured out in layers of breathtaking audio bliss. They play guitar lines that Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood would be proud to call his own. Anestopolous' voice is a rich baritone, which can on occasion sound a bit overly emphatic, but which generally meshes well with the rest of the band. The songs start in a tight knot, then explode into grand, expansive musical cries; they play off of each other in complex and ever-shifting ways, the product of more than a decade of recording music together.
Like Sigur Ros, the group tends to favor heroic song lengths; the album's twelve tracks fill more than seventy-three minutes, and as with the aforementioned Icelandic sensations, the music justifies its length. Often a theme will sprout out of nowhere in the fifth minute of a song, completely changing the melody, and then rejoining it to the original line. This is music made by people who take music seriously without making it overly-intellectual.
Unfortunately, my monolinguality prevents me from commenting on the lyrics. Based on the group's other aspects, I suspect that they're good. Still, it's tough adjusting to the fact that the beautifully-printed lyric booklet will have to remain (ahem) Greek to me."(


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