Review Summary: On The Destruction of Small Ideas, 65dos assume a more post rock identity, and succeeds.
Since their formation in 2000, 65 Days of Static have always been an interesting and changing band. The Fall of Math
saw them in their rawest of forms, gleefully combining ambiance of post rock beginnings and atmospheres with crushing drums (machine and human) and menacing glitches, leading some listeners to categorize them as merely an industrial band. "Retreat! Retreat!" from that album spouted the phrase "this band is unstoppable", a phrase that has grown more true over time. The Destruction of Small Ideas
is the band's third album in four years with their label Monotreme, which speaks to their consistency not only in releasing material, but creative, new, and quality material at that. On this disc the glitches from the past seem to subside, but what does take the forefront is more slower moving pieces, but when they do move we realize how they use every second to captivate us. Also, their drummer is a straight beast.
But what can 65DaysofStatic do in this new year to impress us more than any band already has? Its midway through 2007 but already You, You're a History in Rust
has cemented a place on the best of lists for many, Battles dropped their full length debut working outside the box, and Explosions in the Sky already bolstered their catalog with a new album. After listening to the album, we find that the strategy employed by the band for The Destruction of Small Ideas
is a simple but effective one; they just stick to their guns and let the listeners do the rest.
It begins with familiar territory, a long introduction piece that sets the tone for the rest of the work and leads into the next shorter number. In this case, "When We Were Stronger and Better" begins with a faded piano introduction that sounds very similar to the main theme from John Carpenter's Halloween
. Purposeful, the homage lasts just eleven seconds and the real song then begins. Some slight feedback leads into the first part of the song which is highlighted by Robb Jonze showing off his work behind the kit. "When We Were Younger & Better" is a credible preview to the album, it shows the multiple sections and the increased work with the keys that will inhibit the album. For now the song is a progressive piece, it begins with a slow tempo part with the keys and guitar playing off each other, later the pace is upped with the guitar taking a glorious lead. It slows down but gets back up again with a quiet but growing mid song string section appearance. All the stops seem to have been pulled out as this piece bears no repetitive moments. "A Failsafe" follows the opener with a more linear song that seems to chug right through as opposed to stopping for breaks and sections. What does carry over is the hard working Jonze and guitar work, but what gets shuffled and not included in this piece is the work of the keys in the interest of not being too constant.
They aren't absent for long though, and right off the bat for "Don't Go Down in Sorrow" (which is also the first single released from this album) they appear along with the band's new songs style that gets explored more on this album than on past releases. It's a slow opener, beginning with piano and sounding much like a quieter "Radio Protector". The song takes awhile to develop and grow from the cold and silent footprints left by the keyboard. A problem that comes up is that the song transitions well from nothingness to noisy, but for some this wait can be too long and the result can be viewed as not worth waiting for. It really doesn't get going until all the instruments are really firing around the five minute mark, with a sound that literally sounds like fireworks going off. A metaphor for this song could be just that; fireworks with a really long string attached, really going off for those willing to wait. The end of this tune also shows what has been missing from this album, the artificial and programmed drum beats seem to finally make an appearance after the real band has already made a bang.
The Destruction of Small Ideas
plays host to what seems to be two songs paired together that completely out of left field and disrupt the more quiet flow of the work. Coincidentally, these two songs are the album's finest moments. "The Distant & Mechanised Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties" shows the signs of being out there immediately from the title of the song. The difference between this and the rest of the album can also be heard. Right from the beginning of the song is played with tuned up and programmed keys, followed by guitar and the biggest wtf moment of the whole work: a song you can dance to! It seems unthinkable and the group took a big risk with this one, but just like Blake Lewis doing his version of "You Give Love a Bad Name", it does pay off and well. What is also a welcome back is the glitches, which combine so well with the keys and the heart of the album also. What these three things combining equals is the best and most creative thing on here. The keyboard line is quickly repeated and catchy, the glitches are chipping away at the rest of the bands input. The end result is a short and very single worthy tune that can be seen through the lens of post rock and electronica fans as quality stuff. Following this as the second best track, "Little Victories". The work is begun with a seamless transition and is more of a 65dos song than the previous one. For the first time on The Destruction of Small Ideas
though, the guitar highlighting a song to the point where it combines with the keys so well that you can hear the volume going up, and in turn you turn it up too. That moment happens here and caps off a two song spectacular. These two tunes specifically show how 65dos function at their best. There's no need to wait for satisfaction, the songs are satisfying all the way through.
Most of the pieces on here are worth listening to, but there are some that just are either too much or just uninteresting. One of these, "Music Is Music as Devices Are Kisses Is Everything", means well with its quiet piano opening (where has this phrase been heard before?) and eventual growth; but the song seems to go nowhere and is stuck in the transitional phase. It could be considered a more subtle part to the heavy and bigger works that cam before it, but the cheesiness of having the strings play right next to the piano up front and loudly is very hit or miss, and for me just doesn't do it. Another song that misses its mark is "White Peak/Dark Peak" which means well but too much is given away with the title, plus the less than great performance. As expected, the side of White Peak grows with a piano that grows with itself and no aiding instruments. Soon though it is padded with guitar that plays a nice part but it is a short and unfulfilled part, hardly seeming like a Dark Peek.
The closing number for this follows right after the disappointing "White Peak/Dark Peak" and ensures the album to end on a high note. "The Conspiracy of Seeds" features Georgia's Circle Takes the Square, a band many of you are familiar with. The collaboration is an odd one, and is merely Kathy Coppola and Drew Speziale giving a vocal lift, something not found on any 65dos work. The song itself is epic and employs the use of an opening section which has breaks of electronic voices skipping and repeating to the point of being inaudible. It grows and grows with the swirling of electronic voice glitches, louder drum work, and the continued swell guitar play of Joe Shrewsbury and Paul Wolinski. It seems to take a break, a reappearance by the keys which have been one of the leading forces on this work, and then descends into what actually does sound like a 65dos/CTTS collaboration with the band using 65dos's instrument section with the screaming work of CTTS. It eventually fades with less harsh vocals and a repeating string piece. Words become audible and it feels like the sun has finally come up on whatever rock the listener has been stranded on, the darkness is gone.
So there you have it, The Destruction of Small Ideas
is the next step forward in the discography a borderline not well known post rock band whose works do rank up there with the best of the year. Most of the glitches subside and lead way for a more traditional "post rock" band setup, but there seems to be no problem here. For further listening, you could try to tackle their first release, which is considered by many to be their best and see how they began, or you can plug into this new release to see how far they have came, and what they could deliver in the future.