Saturday, June 18, 2011

Album Review: Días de Septiembre

Días de Septiembre (Days of September) is a fantastic example of how the influence of the core post-rock sound can stretch all over the world, and inspire musicians everywhere to take this inspiration and run with it. Originating in Caracas, Venezuela in 2008, the band recently released their self-titled debut to show off their stuff, and they have a very accessible, tried-and-true sound to the educated instrumental rock listener.

The first song on the record, "Gotas" (Drops), is a very calming, emotional introduction, rather than it's own individual song. Beginning with a recorded Spanish monologue, gentle synths and a soft beat on toms leads melodically into a dual guitar-led transition after a final tom hit at the beginning of the second track on the record, "Pararrayos" (Lightning Rods). Pedro Deniz and Angel Negrin, guitarists both, lead a very entwined, relaxing melody and harmony arm in arm as the song progresses, and Christian Arana begins a driving-but-not-distracting rhythm in the background, allowing for the guitar melodies to prevail. In addition to the familiar fuzz of the distorted melodies, the two guitarists and Mígliz Mena, the synth player, begin to harmonize their voices as well, leading to simple but powerful chords that reach a cathartic finale as the synth and an amiable guitar lead into the third track.

The fifth track on the record, "El Péndulo" (The Pendulum), opens with an ominous, systematic guitar, strumming a haunting melody in a slow two, while the synth creates a dark air, as the other instruments solemnly begin to fall in line, first drums, then more guitars and finally bass, all the while chanting the same manner of refrain. The song moves along in a very sinusoidal manner, with spots of transitional chords thrown in whimsically, but always lead back down to the core minor chord. In an interesting twist that compliments the change from minor to major feel, Christian Arana shifts the beat into a triplet feel over the original four beat feel. With a low-fi guitar strumming in the background and the drums providing the beat without much other glamour, the song utilizes guitar and bass to center the buildup, with fairly heavy distortion on both, until everything else begins to drop out, leaving the outro clinging onto a clean guitar in the background, and the distorted bass still plugging away, until they too simply dissipate into beautiful silence.

A fantastically solid record, I would definitely recommend this to fans of indie and post-rock, or just instrumental music of that sort of nature. The band lists some of their influences centered around big names like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, Death Cab for Cutie, and Caspian. I think they take some of the best elements of each of these bands, throw in their own creative twists, and really orchestrate something wonderful on their debut. It was an original sounding album, but at the same time didn't stray too far from what I would have expected, which was a pleasure. It was nice to have something that felt familiar, but in the same strain, completely different, and I think this album is a strong competitor for anything else coming out this year because of it.

You can pick up the album on their site, surprisingly, for free.

Track Listing:

1) Gotas
2) Pararrayos
4) Crissis En El Cielo
5) El Péndulo
6) 1984
7) Espacio Y Forma
8) Feliz

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