Lights Out Asia
Tanks And Recognizers


4.5
superb

Review

by robin EMERITUS
November 21st, 2008 | 29 replies | 11,121 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Central to a discography too immaculate to dislike.

At a first glimpse, Tanks and Recognizers is disappointing to take in when traced back from the follow-up it shies away from, but then this spurs an odd thought: what exactly do Lights out Asia do best, anyway? On Eyes Like Brontide they wrote one of the year’s most carefully constructed triumphs, delving into the sound so much it was hard to imagine them emerging from it. They wrote post-rock climaxes that come from hardly anywhere at all, barely even having anything to pronounce themselves onto in order to be that way. They layered absolutely everything with absolutely anything, and they even managed to stutter a word or two without even being noticed. And how can one band be so cautiously tightened up, yet so captivating? Meet Tanks and Recognizers, more spotless and making the same question a tonne or more harder to answer.

For all Light out Asia’s spring-cleaning, each track their sophomore effort brings should be layered to infinity. In a sense, this is perfectly true, but it hardly feels enough for this to describe how exactly their dominant atmosphere comes about; no, more than anything, their music is a sequence – layers follow layers. From listening in on Tanks and Recognisers, patterns begin to develop in the band’s sound. Every track seems to be born of the same process, but each time splits off into a different path distinguishable from the last. That’s the kind of difference that falls somewhere between the organic introduction of violins in the landscape of “Ring of Stars” and the energetic pulsation of “Four Square”, which is surprisingly one of the more ambient numbers.

Tanks and Recognizers is probably most interesting for what lies under the ambience and thick passages of sound, though. For every other post-rock band out there, unwillingly thinking that with emotion comes grit, there should be another Lights out Asia. In their spare moments, songs are able to commit a little bit of human affection. What can you expect from me?/You thought we had to live alone ferments Chris Schafer on “Oh! Toronto”, and really, the beat-driven coldness the track displays can only be bleak with his unattached sentiment (the band apparently know how to craft paradoxes as well). And again, he howls out eventually abandoned cries of Save her! as he becomes lost under walls of guitar and keyboard transitions in “March Against the Savages”, and ultimately his thought collapses in a way that makes the composition – now a song – a worthwhile piece of delicacy. It isn’t epic because it’s not trying to be: it’s trying to be thoughtful.

With this in mind, every other counterpart of the album is almost instrumental enough to reveal Lights out Asia as the sneaky, secret pioneer that they could be to post-rock. “Art Divided By Science” welcomes us into another round of swirling guitar-work backed by endless noise, breaking into a small piece of poetry that actually is bettered by the music that surrounds it. “Spiti Elefas” is possibly the most insane closer imaginable for the album, still not bettered by the band’s recent attempt with “Six Points of Fire”. Its transitions are mind-numbing, scaling glitches, guitar, piano, beats and – possibly for the first time – crystal clear vocals. When drawn together, “Spiti Elefas” makes the longest piece on Tanks and Recognizers, and since it momentarily covers every mood before it, what could be more apt? With as much clicking and keyboard-humming as Tanks and Recognizers becomes all about, Light out Asia’s 2007 project is a speciality in its divine poetry and mind power. The words of Schafer are only in attendance for such short, sampled moments, but when they’re on, they give the band and their creations just a little more of a reason to exist. It’s a pessimistic clout of hums made hopeful by the ambience that intercepts it, so it’s an icy affair regardless of how it intends to come out – Schafer and co. care, and even if they want to hide it under mountains of sound, it makes them all the better.

Matt Wolfe recently spoke of The Samuel Jackson Five's Goodbye Melody Mountain as being the band's evidence to lead the half-hearted post-rock world forward, but with their similar yearning for subtelty and little musical developments, Lights Out Asia are yet another quietly diligent band I would put up to the task. They're no stranger to sound scapes, and not a group that want to tone down their music in a genre where what we need is pure passion. While they may not take the boldest steps imaginable for the genre they contribute to, they may be making all the difference just because of that complimentary patience. If you get the chance, cast a vote forward for Tanks and Recognizers.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
FourSquare20 (5)
Lights Out Asia's masterpiece....


Comments:Add a Comment 
jrowa001
November 21st 2008



8750 Comments


great review. Eyes like Brontide is an amazing album. i need to get a hod of this

robin
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



4247 Comments


i would agree in that eyes like brontide is amazing.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I do indeed like this here album, and this here review.

robin
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



4247 Comments


now we have a members also liked that exclusively sums up our music tastes respectively!
also, i'd like to point out that i wanted to put in a bit refrencing your samuel jackson five review, but decided against it. :p This Message Edited On 11.21.08

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That is the best list I have ever seen.

edit: what bit was that?This Message Edited On 11.21.08

robin
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



4247 Comments


closing paragraph, especially the bit from "too sophisticated" to the end. i was kind of going to add to the idea that they were 'taking post rock forward' and reference it, but i'm not great about writing about that kind of thing concerning the genre without making it ridiculously cliché. still, maybe i'll put it in at some point.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nah man, do it. You have a good grasp of the genre, and write really well.

robin
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



4247 Comments


thanks, coming from you that means a lot. i'll see if i can play it in towards the start/end

also, what gives with your review of godsteal you black emperor being deleted?

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pssh, apparently the album isn't an actual album, not meant to be released to a mass audience or something so they asked Jom to take it down. Yet The Silent Ballet's review is still up. Odd.

They say they're releasing an album next year. I could probably post the exact same review and it would still be accurate.



robin
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



4247 Comments


who knows, maybe they're moving onto bigger things, like being more subtle and ripping off the mogwai side of things instead :p

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A kid can dream

robin
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



4247 Comments


thought i'd try and see what i could do with it as a last paragraph, any thoughts?

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, that's awesome dude, and I totally agree.

I might actually review Garmonia this week if I find the time. Right now I'm working on a review for Meanwhile, Back In Communist Russia's 'Indian Ink', which you should really check out if you can.

robin
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



4247 Comments


thanks. i was sort of breaking from postrock before i listened to this, so i'll def. check otu that album at some point. also, if you review garmonia we'll have a full discography reviewed for lights out asia. i have yet to check it out, how does it hold up?This Message Edited On 11.21.08

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 21st 2008



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think it's great. It mainly keeps to the sound of their other two albums, but it's interesting to see how they started out. And KnockKnock has become like my favourite track by them (the vocals are stunning), which unfortunately means that the rest of the album doesn't hold up to the opener, but yeah, still pretty sweet. Should definitely get it.This Message Edited On 11.21.08

Spamue1G
November 22nd 2008



1292 Comments


This review is fantastic! I really couldn't ask anything more from it: Perfect length, fantastic descriptions, nice use of vocabulary, the list goes on... There's really absolutely nothing wrong with it! Well done!

robin
Emeritus
November 22nd 2008



4247 Comments


thanks a bunch. i wasn't too happy with it but some edits have gone well, i suppose.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2008



15728 Comments


I actually haven't heard anything off this but I will when I play out Eyes Like Brontide.

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

robin
Emeritus
November 23rd 2008



4247 Comments


so long as you liked eyes like brontide (which i assume you did..) this album is brilliant listening. and it's not a step down either

AndyRictor2000
December 7th 2008



146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Such a beautiful sound LOA puts out. I will await their next tour with unbridled enthusiasm.



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