Saxon Shore
The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore


3.5
great

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
February 22nd, 2008 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Catchy, optimistic- and standard- post rock.

Saxon Shore are an American post rock band, meaning you probably know exactly what they sound like. Their songs start off soft and sweet, then get loud and sweet, with soaring guitars and cymbal heavy percussion leading to the inevitable climax. Yes, it's all familiar, yes it's unoriginal, and The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore probably won't floor you like ( ) or Lift Your Skinny Fists did the first time you heard them.

However, that doesn't mean it's a bad record at all. True, Saxon Shore do exactly what everyone else does, but they do it quite impressively. The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore finds the band wisely thieving from the best of their contemporaries. In atmospherics, Explosions In the Sky influences are found all over this record, with optimistic, expansive textures gracing the entire album, only instead of following in Explosion's epic (or pretentious) footsteps, Saxon Shore craft post rock tunes one can sit down and enjoy rather than decide which blocks of time will be devoted to listening to them. This creates an advantage Saxon Shore's interpretation of post rock has over its peers: Saxon Shore are really quite listenable. By eliminating the epic periods of ambience several post rock bands in the wake of Godspeed You! Black Emperor indulge in with the hopes of being "deep", Saxon Shore gets to the point with equal amounts of power and emotion without putting the listener to sleep first. The songs on Exquisite Death, usually not as gay as their titles would suggest, never wander too far past five minutes, giving the album a good quick interest-holding pace. It helps that Saxon Shore have a tendency to just ***ing groove every once in a while. Songs like "The Revolution Will Be Streaming" run with an almost jovial bounce, whereas "With a Red Suit You Will Become a Man" shows Saxon Shore going full fledged 80's, with dancey beats and a synth line straight out of Fred XM 44. Refreshingly, Saxon Shore take post rock and make it actually fun rather than insanely dramatic.

That is, for most of the record they make it fun. The Exquisite Death begins to stumble when it starts trying to exchange the optimistic tone of the first half with a darker, more cliché sound on the latter half. "A Greatness at the Cost of Goodness" sounds ripped straight from every post rock band's playbook, a similar fate befalling "How The West Was Won On Horseback", only both tracks lack the direction necessary for the point they're trying to convey. Neither track does the album any favors before "The Lame Shall Enter First" shows Saxon Shore actually can be darker sounding and equally as excellent as their lighter stuff. Saxon Shore goes for broke on "The Lame Shall Enter First", with ace results. Complete with chimes, keyboards, and screaming, Saxon Shore saves their strongest climax for last, with enough emotional grit to make even the most jaded post rock enthusiast smile. In the end, The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore may rip off the big guys too much for its own good- "The Shaping Of A Helpless Joy" sounds like a B-Side from Jaga Jazzist's What We Must, and "Silence Lends a Face to the Soul" comes straight from Mono- but it has enough flashes of brilliance and just enough optimistic originality to make it a fine post rock record.



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user ratings (80)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2008


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

My first real attempt at concision, let me know what you think.

Eliminator
February 22nd 2008


2067 Comments


cool a pointless intro

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2008


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah I had trouble getting this one started, so I put in a joke. I might take it out later.

thebhoy
Emeritus
February 22nd 2008


4461 Comments


From the way you describe it, I'll probably skip this. But, you say that refreshingly they make post-rock fun... so you mean to say they stole that part from Do Make Say Think. DMST last two records are pretty darn fun, and certainly full good grooves (Fredericia's bassline?)

Oh, and pretty good review too.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2008


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It doesn't sound anything like Do Make Say Think. I agree that You, You're a History in Rust was a fun record, but they don't sound like Saxon Shore, who take a more EitS-ish sound and make it more "fun". I guess.

Eliminator
February 22nd 2008


2067 Comments


Yeah I had trouble getting this one started, so I put in a joke. I might take it out later.
if you will refer to some of my older reviews, you will notice that it doesn't work at all

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2008


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Again I bow to the influence of Eliminator.

HighandDriving
February 22nd 2008


3288 Comments


It seems like every new post-rock review should contain your intro.

Doppelganger
February 22nd 2008


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah this is pretty run-of-the-mill postrock

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2008


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That last song here is pretty nice.

BlackVanillaSky
November 3rd 2008


10 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think this album is great. Then again, these guys were my first introduction into Post-Rock music. It was a nice car ride. It was Autumn. Perhaps the reason I hold this record dear is because of its fond memories I have attached to it.

Regardless, I think it's a beautiful album.

brutebeard
August 27th 2010


1655 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

quite gorgeous melodies



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