Friday, April 29, 2011

Album Review: And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs

Creating a whole new sound in an already expansive genre is difficult. Apparently not for Irish project And So I Watch You From Afar, though. Their take on post-rock and instrumental music is so vastly different from much of anything else out there, and they're coming back for even more with Gangs. After scoring a 6th best album of the year with their self-titled debut from Rock Sound, the project is bringing even more interesting works to the table.

After a loud, powerful opening, "BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION" breaks into some rhythmic buildup with the guitar and the drums hammering on the toms, with some occasional hard-hitting bridges, until things wind down a bit, to a calmer guitar and a strong drum beat. The song approaches almost a whisper, with only bass drum and a couple of quiet chords, then begins to build back up, slowly, but very steadily, until it finally hits a high point, where everyone's letting loose, cymbals crashing, guitars wailing, and then it suddenly dies, with some acoustic chords resolving the song peacefully.

Moving further through the album, "7 Billion People All Alive At Once" takes on a quieter, more docile feeling, with a solo guitar introduction, joined by a mellow beat and a soothing piano. Interestingly enough, the piece takes on a 3/4 feel, turning it into some sort of post-rock waltz, which is bizarrely beautiful, and well orchestrated by the band. The song begins to build up, more and more, until it repeats the waltz feel even more intensely, creating a soundscape of ethereal guitars and a driving rhythm, that pushes on and pulls back, fading away with one final hit, and some reflective chords and soft ambient noise resolve the remainder of the song.

Certainly one of the most interesting listens of the year, Gangs will not disappoint. There is so much experimentation going on in the album, it's hard to know what to do with it, and in the end, there's really nothing else to do but sit back and listen to the album the whole way through, just to know where it's all heading towards. And So I Watch You From Afar has another powerfully moving album, and I hope there's much more to it, I can't wait to see what's next.

You can get your hands on the album at their bandcamp here.

Track Listing:

2) Gang (starting never stopping)
3) Search:Party:Animal
4) 7 Billion People All Alive At Once
5) Think:Breathe:Destroy
6) Homes - Ghost Parlor KA -6 to...
7) Homes - ...Samara to Belfast
8) Lifeproof

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