Wednesday, February 13, 2008


the following reviews are the property of Amazon, but as we all know, property is theft:

Sea of the Dying Dhow, *shels

4.0 out of 5 stars Fruity, 13 Feb 2008

I've seen *shels described as postmetal, metalcore, postrock and a million other things. For mine, they are at the metal end of postrock, with some nice metally vocals tossed in. You'd probably consider them a bit more proggy than the likes of Godspeed, but rather less arty than Isis. There's a lot more lyricism than bludgeoning riffs, but the power's there if that's what you like.

A lot of music in this space strives for the monumental. Bands like Cult of Luna and Callisto want to overwhelm you. But *shels are a lot more, well, fruity. Their palate is a lot broader and they're all the better for it. On a couple of the longer tracks, The conference of the birds and In dead palm fields in particular, they really hit the highs, but the menace is controlled, never losing their grip on the lovely melodies that distinguish them from the crowd (although each has some belting heavy stretches). This would definitely appeal to fans of Isis (particularly those who aren't so keen on the doomy growling) but also to postrockers who are willing to go a few steps heavier, particularly those who enjoy the shifting dynamics of Godspeed.

All Is Violent All Is Bright, God is an Astronaut
2.0 out of 5 stars Mogwai meets Jean Michel Jarre, 13 Feb 2008

In most types of music, you have a leading edge, which does exciting and innovative things, and you have a body of groups that make music in the same vein. Some of those groups tone down the excitement, as it were, by smoothing out the edges of the music. This is one of those groups.

I imagine there is a market for this and possibly you're part of that market. If you find some postrock just a bit too heavy or abstract, this is for you. It's a lot like Mogwai meets Jean Michel Jarre. I'm not kidding. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy, you'll enjoy this. It's not horribly bad (and the two stars are sort of two to three, depending how I am feeling) but it doesn't rock. It plods. It plods nicely, but it doesn't take off. It's quite shoegazey, but it's not My Bloody Valentine. There's no edge. It's more Slowdive. With more Enya. I see this record linked to from a lot of heavier records -- even stuff like Isis and Pelican. But this is a million miles from that. It's a lot less furrowed brow, a lot more nice cup of tea and a biccy. You could probably meditate to it. See, if you are part of the market for this, that will sound very appealing. If not, you'll be suitably put off.

Enjoy Eternal Bliss, Yndi Halda

3.0 out of 5 stars Postrock by the numbers, 13 Feb 2008

You know, if you're into the usual postrock icon bands: Godspeed, Mogwai, Explosions, you'll really want to like this. And maybe you will like it a lot. It's possible. But it's not mindblowing, nothing new, just postrock by the numbers. Don't expect anything else. That's not to say it's not enjoyable, or that it isn't worthwhile. Most genres are stuffed full of bands who just do what everyone else does, and that's okay. It's why you'll want to like this. There's a fair bit of each of the big postrock bands in it: some martial drumming, some lyrical passages, buildups to the big atmospheric payoff, tinkling vibes. But you may just catch yourself yawning towards the end of one of these tracks, because exciting it ain't.

Bleak Epiphanies in Slow Motion, Latitudes

4.0 out of 5 stars Boom!, 13 Feb 2008

Probably the best way to describe little-known bands is to pick the better-known band they are most like and explain how they are different. So I'll do that.

It's like someone listened to Pelican and went, dude, that's not heavy enough, let's ten times the heavy and see what we have. What we have is music that will take the paint off your walls. Not that Latitudes sacrifice melody or nuance.

Well okay. Nuance is a bit in short supply. But the music is not unsatisfying. It's just more something to chew on than to sip like fine wine. Robust. Although it's fairly progressive, you're likely to come away from the first listen a bit weak at the knees. It's not really comparable with Isis, at least not later Isis, because the indie sensibility that has gradually shifted Isis away from metal and towards postrock is missing. Latitudes rock hard and you'll feel rocked by it. If you like that feeling, that you've been worked over by a record (and I do), you'll love this.

This Will Destroy You, This Will Destroy You

5.0 out of 5 stars Explodes, 12 Feb 2008

So you come from Texas, and you make postrock. You're going to be compared with Explosions in the Sky. The question then is, how well do you compare?

On their first effort, Young Mountain, TWDY didn't compare all that well. For all the praise that minialbum received, it was fairly workaday postrock. It didn't have that whoah there go the hairs on my neck thing going on.

This does.

TWDY do not simply plough the quiet-loud furrow. Several of the songs here are meditative, tranquil and deep. Rather than always aim at the soaring crescendos beloved of postrockers, they build moods. And where on Young Mountain, they sometimes missed, and ended up in a mire of postrock cliche, here they hit the heights. They've been compared with Sigur Ros and I think moodwise, they're getting close. Nothing here has quite the impact of Von from Heim, but there's some deeply moving stuff on here. If you love Mono, EITS, the more ambient Mogwai, this is your new favourite record.


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