Balmorhea
All Is Wild, All Is Silent


3.5
great

Review

by S. G. Shaw USER (15 Reviews)
June 26th, 2009 | 11 replies | 7,617 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Falling short of a fully cohesive album, "All is Wild, All is Silent" gives a glimpse of inevitable greatness.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

The title of Balmorhea’s third and latest album, “All is Wild, All is Silent,” is an accurate description of their sound. The album title and nature of the music can also be likened to a doomed ship’s maiden voyage. Kicking the album off is Settler, which is by far the most impressive piece herein, instilling the feeling of unfettered optimism and a new direction, incorporating flowing piano, synonymous guitar bits and hand clapping. Balmorhea start out the album with a superb and breathtaking opener, only to bounce back and forth between mediocrity (in regards to the aesthetics of instrumental post-rock) and the tease & peek into what may be a hint of superiority within their genre. Settler is definitely an indication of this group’s potential and their ability to aid the listener in their own creation of a visual journey on which they are embarking.

March 4, 1831 touts placid guitar work and serene strings, but it’s the precursor to the early demise of our nautical vessel as an unforgivable storm strike in Harm and Boon. The aforementioned song begins with a quiet piano section that is accompanied by an ominous cello that all breaks down and out as the waves and wind strike the hull of the boat. Through the staccato drum trills the strings become frantic and are joined by awkward, quick strums of the guitar. The idea that Balmorhea attempted to produce is evident, though they fell short to pull it all together musically.

At this point in the tale, the old wooden ship has been battered by the harsh weather yet still holds together as it clumsily sails through the night. Elegy takes a lighthearted approach with its buoyant guitar work, though there is no musical progression involved, leaving me with a feeling that something more could have occurred--some sort of progression is lacking. At this point, the tracks indicate the optimism of the daytime with Elegy and Coahuila and the dread/feeling of impending doom of nighttime with Remembrance and Night in the Draw. Coahulia is a gorgeous piece that is an example of what the other shorter tracks could have been--it begins with a simple guitar line and slowly builds, recedes, and then takes off using the strings as a launching pad. The other two aforementioned tracks take place during the hostility of the night and follow the same slow-building formula, eventually erupting into restrained versions of what potentially could have been, and then dying back down--all of this paralleling the state of the ship’s crew as tensions build, anger is expressed and everything dies back down at the sight of the sunrise.

Night in the Draw pains a portrait of the sailors last-ditch attempt at bailing the water out of their vessel. They know the end draws near, as indicated by the paranoid banjo and string introduction. Their efforts continue as the militarily-stylistic drums march and roll and then cease when the order is given to abandon their sinking ship. November 1, 1832 is the coda at the conclusion of the seafarers journey. They are packed into their dinghies, rowing and floating toward their own likely demise.

With the use of typical post-rock instrumentation (guitar, cello, piano, violin, percussion), Balmorhea have entered a genre that has been well-explored and deliciously well-seasoned. Lacking the musical turbulence of Bright Red Paper and the grandiosity of Yndi Halda, Balmorhea have carved themselves a lackluster and beige-ish niche within the scope of instrumental music. This group’s potential eminates faintly in “All is Wild, All is Silent” and can be perceived as a fledgling youngster attempting its first true steps. Settler and Coahulia are inklings that Balmorhea is a band to watch, ready for great things to emerge from their collective unconscious.



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Nothing more than a pleasant listening experience....


Comments:Add a Comment 
RevengeSoldier
June 27th 2009



295 Comments


Nice review... I've been intending to do a review for this myself for a while now. It is a really good album!

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
June 27th 2009



862 Comments


i remember you, prolly the first 'post rock guy' on sputnik. what brings you back?

albums a bore for me.

lobby
June 27th 2009



1251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Props for reviewing this. It has grown from a 3.5 to a 4 for me. It really is a brilliant minimalist album with a good blend of classical and post-rock elements.

edit: your review sounds like you gave it a 2 or a 2.5 because you're labelling so many faults and don't talk much about the positives. If you're going to give an album 3.5, maybe you should make your review sound like a 3.5...

Wanker
June 28th 2009



139 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Minus: I never really left, I've just been lurking for a long time now. And I just recently recovered the urge to review albums. And yeah, when I discovered Explosions in the Sky about 5 years ago, I couldn't stop raving about them... then I sort of grew out of them.

lobby: I tried to emphasize the fact that the album is decent though it has some faults. I decided to give it that rating because of the band's potential.

bungy
January 1st 2010



8843 Comments


Does Balmorhea rhyme with diarrhea?

Wanker
January 13th 2010



139 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's supposed to be "Bal-moo-ray"

bungy
January 13th 2010



8843 Comments


Thank you, I've been waiting for the last 12 days.

lobby
June 4th 2010



1251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is far greater than the 2010 release

Josh D.
November 20th 2010



13967 Comments


This sounds pretty good based on a song I heard.

lobby
November 20th 2010



1251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It rules, dude. Take a song like Remembrance: just brilliant atmosphere and musicianship

Josh D.
November 20th 2010



13967 Comments


I've heard "Settler".



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