Pelican
City of Echoes


3.0
good

Review

by GleamInRanks USER (16 Reviews)
July 12th, 2007 | 37 replies | 13,211 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fans of "The Fire in Our Throats...", approach with caution.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Acting as a bridge of sorts, between the genres of post-rock and post-metal, Pelican have never been afraid to experiment with their vocal-less sound. 2005's The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw saw Pelican trying to distance themselves from their previous releases such as Australasia, an album that drew much attention because of the obvious similarities presented by their peers, Isis. The Fire in Our Throats... was Pelican's attempt at making a diverse and transcending album that would give headaches to critics who were trying to slap a label onto it. Through the use of melodic passages, acoustic guitar playing, tempo variety, and moody atmospheres, Pelican succeeded to a certain extent. Though they were not fully able to escape comparisons to bands such as Isis and Cult of Luna, there was definitely a movement away from them. With Pelican's newest album, City of Echoes, the battle has been won, but instead of adding new and exciting elements to their music, they decided to take most of them away. They stripped their music to the core and disposed of the thrilling atmosphere and epic qualities and we are left with a collection of guitar riffs.

While Pelican's music has always been guitar based, past releases displayed how the instruments seemed to blend together. On City of Echoes, however, the guitarists take the main stage and rarely is any atmosphere created. The lack of open space on the album was somewhat of a letdown. Only on a few of the tracks that Pelican are non-stop heavy is the lack of space not missed. The album opener, "Bliss in Concrete", starts the record off with Pelican's distinct sludgy guitar riffs. Being one of the better songs on City of Echoes, "Bliss in Concrete" actually progresses, becoming heavier throughout. The track seems to pull itself together when the guitars are accented with the use of a charging double bass pedal. "Dead Between the Walls" presents itself in a similar fashion to that of "Bliss in Concrete" with more of the sludgy, low-tuned guitar riffs. Reminiscent to songs from Australasia, a doomy feeling to the guitars carry the entire song. Concluding the song, an extremely well placed reverberated guitar passage that provides one of the few exciting climaxes that can be found on the album.

City of Echoes comes off as trying to be a more direct album than its predecessors. Most of the songs fall into the five minute range and only one track barely breaks the seven minute mark. When Pelican decided to trim their songs, they removed one of the more intriguing elements from their music, the atmosphere. Here, there are only a handful of impressive instrumental build-ups. Without the ambient sections that were present in previous albums, much of Pelican's music has become rather bland. Some of the songs never distance themselves from a mid-tempo collection of riffs. Tracks such as "Spaceship Broken - Parts Needed" feel overly relaxed. The rhythm section picks up the pace of the song only for a brief moment. Almost sounding like a rehashed version of The Fire in Our Throats... untitled track, "Winds with Hands" is an attempt at incorporating dynamics into an album that has little variation. The title track falls into the same pattern by taking a only a couple of ideas and dragging them on for far too long. Although, a chord progression can be found at the end, but the surprising section is almost ruined by an irritating bend in one of the notes. Even the majority of the guitar parts end up being tedious because of their similar nature.

As disappointing as City of Echoes may be, it represents a major change for Pelican. Even though they are far from mastering new sound, steps certainly are taken. A more direct approach to the genre wasn't a bad idea, it just wasn't executed that well and could have been better. More variety throughout the album is definitely needed, especially with the guitar because many of the riffs and passages sound so similar. As much as I wanted to love City of Echoes, I couldn't forget the fact that elements that made past albums so exciting were taken out or underdeveloped on this album.



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user ratings (485)
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3.4
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other reviews of this album
Cubert99 (4)
Pelican return with their third LP City of Echoes. Does it escape the shadow of their past successes...

Kyle Ward STAFF (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Two-Headed Boy
July 12th 2007



4527 Comments


This album is really disapointing. Boring most of the time.

Good work.

GleamInRanks
July 12th 2007



298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, that's pretty much the way I feel about it. Their last two albums were so good and this is just kind of meh, some good songs and a lot of boring ones. Doesn't help that the riffs sound the same either.This Message Edited On 07.12.07

Wizard
July 12th 2007



19333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Once again Gleam, really well written review. You described this exactly how I felt about this album. To tell you the truth, this album was my first exposure to the band. But I will check out their previous stuff in hopes that one day I can understand what makes these Isis copycats so good. This Message Edited On 07.12.07

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

GleamInRanks
July 13th 2007



298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks. As far as their other albums go, both Australasia and The Fire in Out Throats are excellent but Australasia is a bit heavier. I think you would be happy with either though.

Wizard
July 16th 2007



19333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Gleam,
Im checking those albums out right now. I wish they had stuck with the style they had on Australasia and Fire in Our Throats.

Kage
July 16th 2007



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pelican is hardly an Isis copycat.

LifeInABox
August 22nd 2007



3708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why is this album hated? It's very, very good.

C.O.A.
October 19th 2007



53 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album has a more "happy" feel, if you will. I still love it regardless though.

LifeInABox
October 22nd 2007



3708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It being more happy doesn't isn't a reason for it to be forgotten, though.

C.O.A.
October 22nd 2007



53 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i never said it was...

Wizard
October 22nd 2007



19333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Awful album! The instuments sound so thin, like it was recorded in a garbage can.

LifeInABox
October 22nd 2007



3708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My case and point summed up in that very post

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2007



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just bought this yesterday, love it.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

C.O.A.
December 26th 2007



53 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So I have been listening to this album a lot lately and I think I like it even more so than before. This Message Edited On 12.26.07

brosefstalin
July 8th 2008



7 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah actually, I couldn't think of a way to describe what I thought about City of Echoes, but how you do actually fits pretty well. I think that Pelican was trying to make themselves have a more relaxed and boring album (because that's what all explosions in the sky albums are like ) in an effort to get the same crowd as EitS to listen to 'em, but in the process they took out all the stuff that really made their music awesome to do it. I hope they don't keep trying that kinda sell-out strategy and just make the kind of stuff they can naturally do and do so well without forcing it, like on "The Fire in our throats..."

SnackaryBinx
November 23rd 2008



2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

3.2 is way too low for this album in my opinion.
Bliss In Concrete is a fucking amazing song beyond words.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2008



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haven't listened to this in ages... I probably should.

Relinquished
December 7th 2008



24919 Comments


This album deserves a 3.8 or higher.

charlesfishowitz
December 7th 2008



1794 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

nah

TheImpervious
December 14th 2008



61 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Being a fan of both this and "The Fire in Our Throats...", I don't see how this could be any more "boring" than TFiOT... . This CD definately isn't as dense or dynamic, but it took far fewer spins to get into. I'm also not seeing the issue with production, I guess it should sound thicker based on how sludgy the strings are but it sounds pretty average other than that.



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