Monday, 1 September 2014

This Will Destroy You - Another Language

This Will Destroy You - Another Language

Ah, post rock. Crescendos, melodic and cinematic interweaving guitar play. Beautiful songs that were made for dramatic movie scenes. I would listen to you all day, every day. But that was ten plus years ago before a slew of bands came along with the imprint and did nothing with it beyond unashamedly copying. The bands to survive this; Mogwai, Sigur Ros, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. All bands who you could argue were never post rock in the first place.


So, how to avoid copying and maintain relevancy in a genre that's a corpse so dead that it's beyond rotting? 


This Will Destroy You luckily have always stuck their necks a little higher out of the sinking post rock ship than most. On earlier releases (Young Mountain and Self Titled) they still did the "oh my god is this record skipping or something" thing, but attacked melancholy guitar work with a slew of electronics and drum work which betrayed the post rock rule of 'only hit the hi-hat until the crescendo'. This actually led them to becoming one of my favourite bands until the release of their third album (which I either 'didn't get' due to me no longer liking the genre, or just simply knew that it wasn't a good album). The point being that, to maintain relevancy, an artist must be willing to make changes to the genre they are in. Challenge themselves, and their listeners.


On latest album, Another Language, have This Will Destroy You achieved this? Well on first glance it would appear so (nine tracks instead of the standard four/five tracks each lasting up to eight minutes). Look beyond this however and you have songs that feel like introductions that have lasted far too long (as on first track, New Topia, before it swells into the predictable crescendo), and songs like War Prayer, which initially sound fresh with fuzzy distorted bass, only to passively lull into a silence before yes, you've guessed it, the crescendo. When the band look at the rule book but only from a distance, they create tracks like The Puritan. A three minute ambient track that doesn't as much do anything special but grabs you by the ears and focuses your attention because it doesn't do anything except for being unashamedly beautiful. Leading into the almost jazz drum infused feel of Mother Opiate which is sparse and calmly alarming, not ever needing to be aggressive with guitars. As well as Invitation, an upbeat snare driven track with cutting guitar work that very much competes with even Mogwai's best work. 


So, Another Language, worth parting cash for? Yes. If you're into post rock or instrumental music then sure, this is as good as recent releases from Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. But if you're one of those who gets two minutes into a track and always says "where are the vocals", then steer clear. This isn't one of those albums that will bridge the gap into the mainstream. The rule book has definitely been printed and published meaning that, for most, post rock remains another language. 



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