Vessels
White Fields and Open Devices


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
October 29th, 2008 | 34 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The sun never sets on the British empire.

Vessels have an uncanny ability to pair together things that normally do not go together. White Fields and Open Devices. “An Idle Brain and the Devil's Workshop.” John Congleton (producer of Explosions in the Sky) and a high bass mix. Tangible melodies and mathy rhythms. The list goes on. From the constantly impressive Leeds music scene (These Monsters, Paul Marshall), Vessels most importantly combine typical post-rock paradigms with originality and excitement.

Perhaps originality isn't quite the right word. They do not compose anything that is unheard of when one looks at each individual aspect, but the combination of all these aspects makes something new and enjoyable. From song to song, Vessels prove that they have a versatility that no post-rock record of the year can stand up to. From the math rock of “Altered Beast” to the piano ballad “Yuki” to “Look at That Cloud!”, which basically says “*** you EITS, we're better than you” in one fell swoop, White Field and Open Devices keeps its listeners interested and engaged.

The album begins with three of the best songs on the album, all done in completely different styles. As mentioned, “Altered Beast” takes their core sound and puts a math rock influence on it. Unlike most math rock, however, the song is completely fluid with no awkward transitions between riffs. The song's climax puts a tangible groove to the song, as if the band has finally put their feet on firm ground. Rim clicks work as a segue into “A Hundred Times in Every Direction”, which uses that opening to rhythmically develop the first half of the song instead of using melodic development. For the first time on the album, the band uses vocals for their main melodies. While vocals appear on nearly half the album, they hardly steal the limelight from the instruments. Much like Laura on Radio Swan Is Down, they blend with the music to make a larger, more varied sound. “A Hundred Times...” is followed by “Happy Accident”, which once again changes the style. Glitchy electronics make a subtle appearance, and the song demonstrates in full form the band's mastery of the quiet-loud formula.

Many albums start strong like this, but few can finish the job. White Fields and Open Devices does just that. Continuing its well-developed flow, the middle of the album falls into a dreamy lull, capitalized upon by “Walking Through Walls.” Once again using vocals, it never reaches any sort of climax. Instead, it offers a break from the typical post-rock formula that, admittedly, the band uses to full effect. This break makes “Look at That Cloud!”, easily the most stereotypical, derivative song on the album, actually effective. Its climax, which actually clips the EQ and sounds like the shattering of eardrums, justifies the wait created by the middle of the album. Despite the formulaic style of “Look at That Cloud!”, other songs, such as its successor “Yuki”, are much more experimental. “Yuki” is the most vocal-led song on the album, but once it starts growing, the vocals fade away and it sounds something more like a Kashiwa Daisuke piece. Glitchy electronic drums complement the beautiful piano theme, and suddenly, it seems that Vessels can do more than surprise the listener with a sudden surge of volume.

White Fields and Open Devices is simply one of those albums that is well-composed and well-executed. The band may not be remembered for innovations or experiments, but post-rock fans will note the exceptional performances on the album. Given this is only their debut, and songs like “Yuki” hint at something incredible, Vessels may have more to say, especially since they composed most of these songs before 2008. Remarkably, they tied them all together to make an incredibly cohesive album. “Look at That Cloud!” and “Yuki” sound perfect next to each other, but they were not originally designed to do that. Despite its hour duration, the album is listenable from end to end, and good for both post-rock veterans and those unfamiliar with the genre.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 29th 2008


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This was my favorite album of the year for a while, but I wore it out. Really awesome stuff.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 29th 2008


3995 Comments


Album is pretty sweet but I'm still waiting on the two failed tracks from relay. Mediafire??

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 29th 2008


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Olympus.

Serpento
October 29th 2008


2351 Comments


i only have a hundred times in every direction, but it's so good.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 29th 2008


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album rules, glad to FINALLY see this review, Tyler

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 29th 2008


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules, glad to FINALLY see this review, Tyler
123

SnackaryBinx
October 29th 2008


2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

finally someone wrote this, holy hell. I was about to.

handoman
October 29th 2008


2386 Comments


Glad someone reviewed it. I've been digging this for a while. And there's a link to my list, cool.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 29th 2008


17920 Comments


John Congleton (producer of Explosions in the Sky) and a high bass mix


yessss

jrowa001
October 29th 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shall be looking into this soon

natey
October 30th 2008


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

maybe "Happy Accident" instead...
This has grown on me, upped to a 4.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 1st 2008


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

our farrrr is not farrr enoughhhhhhh

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
December 9th 2008


7026 Comments


Need download link!

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

foreverendeared
December 10th 2008


14678 Comments


i like the album cover a lot. if i had money right now, i'd probably get this

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
December 12th 2008


7026 Comments


Listening to this right now ... the first track is 'cute'. Not that mindblowing though.

MassiveAttack
July 3rd 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gotta agree on the variety of this album really attracts listeners and kept me on my toes. Hope to see more from them , interesting album. They really aren't entirely post-rock to be technical, but that would just be too uninteresting at this point now wouldn't it?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2009


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

forgot how special this album can be at times. epic

natey
November 23rd 2009


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Two Words and a Gesture" is the best, but a lot of this just feels weak. voicing and composition. listened through it today and it's grown off me a bit. some grooves are mad tight but eh

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2009


15740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

hopefully the next album will feature more vocal heavy jams like 100 times and Two Words. Those are beautiful songs

sexpoi
March 3rd 2010


599 Comments


this album is pretty solid. i've only gotten through about half of it though. I thought it was pretty cool that they had a vocalist seeing as i haven't seen many post-rock bands with vocals. Idk if u can really just pin them to post-rock but even with the vocals present i still get that post-rock feeling when i listen to it



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