Review Summary: Zach Savage says: "Imagine every Post-Rock band you've ever heard"
A year after beginning a This Will Destroy You review by complaining about a lack of information about the band, I will begin another This Will Destroy You review by complaining about the lack of band in the information. This Will Destroy You
, the self-titled debut LP by the Texas Post-Rock band is almost inhuman in its lack of personality. Though the guitar lines in ‘Threads’ and ‘The Mighty Rio Grande’ jump out as familiar even on the second listen, if blind folded, there would be nearly no way to tell who created ‘This Will Destroy You’. It is inseparable from the mass of Post-Rock bands that follow in the wakes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky, a Post-Rock madlib, with common, everyday words filling in the blanks. Even the band’s build-ups, traditionally the most central, most emotional part of a Post-Rock song seem to lack much passion. Or at least, the emotion and the passion do not translate in audio form whatsoever.
On the surface of This Will Destroy You
, everything is essentially perfect, and this might be one of its biggest flaws. The production is crystal clear; everything shimmers and shines even through standard computer speakers. Guitars are soaked in reverb and delay on ‘They Move on Tracks of Never-Ending Light’ and arpeggiate beautifully, but nothing is interesting, nothing is original. Swells of keyboard and electronic drums come to the rescue, but still do little to retain attention. Everything sounds great sure, but sounding great isn’t everything. Throughout ‘Villa Del Refugio’, the album’s second track, a white-noise type of feedback grows in volume underneath hopeful, Sigur Ros-esque chord swells. The song is fairly ambitionless in that it doesn’t feature a climax of any kind, yet this difference alone makes it stand out among the other tracks.
On Young Mountain, an album I enjoyed quite a bit, I would sometimes find myself zoning out, waiting for the crescendo, and later the climax. Here, I find myself waiting for the end, which, unlike Young Mountain, does not come quickly. Tracks push and break the 10 minute mark, making the 7-song record almost 15 minutes longer than its 6-song predecessor. The 7+ minute long ‘Burial on the Presidio Banks’ features a particularly dynamic ending, switching from the band’s textbook clean plus effects pedals tone to a crushing distorted crunch, accented by a trembling lead line that shines through like a siren, a testament to This Will Destroy You’s excellent choice of tone and excellent production values. It’s one of the album’s best moments, for sure.
It’s tough to translate emotion and passion into an instrumental performance but, as countless bands and artists have proved, it is far from impossible. Moments on Young Mountain were blissful in this aspect, and made for a great, though unoriginal record. Most moments on This Will Destroy You, however, are just plain boring. It is a tepid studio creation by a band that probably can (and has) done better. As one Zach Savage says: “It’s like listening to white”.
-Dan ft. Zach