Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jukebox: Chemtrail - Poison Bag

About six months ago, I released a spotlight on Chemtrail's newest EP, Sounds Like Ghosts, raving about their technique, and how evocative they can be with B-side cuts that sound unrefined in a genre that harps over refinement. There's one song that stuck with me since then, though. "Poison Bag" might be the song of the year in my book; it has everything the post-rock genre has to offer, and more. It's a window into Chemtrail's creative process, a sad story told on a rainy day, a metaphor for passing beyond life, a retrospective of regret - you name it, the song applies. It's just that good.

The song opens with this riff on clean guitar that is played with vibrant clarity, but is pushed down by a hovering riff by another guitar that steals the spotlight, one that'll come back to haunt the listener in choruses to come. The clean guitar is persistent, and plays throughout, forming the backdrop for the melody. Eerie wails echo overhead as the drums push the melody through the verse, aggressing towards the end of each as the hovering distortion comes back as a phantom again and again, growing each time it's played. The bridge is a calm respite, an eye in the storm; there's plenty of tension, but it's not being acted upon, quite yet. However, as post-rock usually does, it begins to expand outwards, more and more, building up after the bridge, until a pre-chorus before the outro re-introduces the distorted riff once again, and a feeling of heavy oppression push the song through an ending that is so powerful that it numbs all emotional centers; as the distorted riff grows, more elements and layers are brought in, and the outro brings on an intense wave of sound, filled with guitar-centered nuances that make it something beyond simply a song. It's a message of power, and of sadness. And it does an excellent job of communicating that message.

If you haven't already picked this EP up, you can do so for free on Chemtrail's bandcamp.

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