Review Summary: Instrumental post-metal that reaches for breathtaking heights and ends up reaching for the stars.
Lets just get this out of the way; vocals are 90% of the reason why music fails. For the most part, generic song structures and half assed attempts at mimicking tunes couldn’t save your band if your vocalist was an atrocity to the human voice and you were the last band on earth. Vocals in music are a very primitive, fundamental tool but I feel that great vocalists in any genre are about as rare as the chances of Led Zeppelin ever getting back together. A harsh view indeed of practically the only human quality left in modern music today. However, with that statement in place, Pelican showed us through Austrailasia
that they can bring a raw, human quality to their music with only the use of a guitar, bass, and drum set-up without the glossy, over produced style that most bands flourish in. The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw
is a step up from that without sacrificing those primitive tools that truly know how to move us. Pelican’s explorations into textual and layered effects, draped over charging song structures, hit the right spots and will have you begging to take the journey again after one listen.
When viewing the entire sub-genre, post-metal usually relies on atmospheric touches to sturdy the backbone of its songs. While Pelican utilizes this approach to great effect, they also rely on a more “jam session” feel that really carry the songs forward, melding the two together into a succinct attack. This concise amalgamation of the two styles leaves not one standout position, but rather allows the band to work as a complete unit for the entire duration of the album. Breaking this point down further, Pelican are extremely meticulous in mapping out these passages of atmosphere and raw “jam session” musicianship. The listener will notice that when the band wants to open up into more spacey territory, beautiful clean guitars lend a helping a hand with moving the listener into blissful terrain. When the band wants to pound you over the head, precise riffing takes the forefront and completes the peak/ valley effect that is scattered throughout the album. This is particularly noticeable when the band moves in and out of these loud/ soft dynamics with ease in such cases as the appropriately titled “Last Day of Winter” blossoming right from the get-go, taking a step back and then crescendos its way into the first light of spring. In the case of this song and the rest of the album, the band doesn’t particularly enjoy jarring the listener with the ‘drop-of-a-hat’, loud to soft dynamic that other post-metal acts use to death. In fact, the band creates transitions so smooth that the listener be knocked to their feet and inevitably, will miss half of the album. It’s only when the album is spun again that the songs begin to open up and branch out into vast soundscapes of raw musicianship that move the listener into multiple emotional settings throughout the duration of a single song.
And it’s that very reason that makes Pelican stand head and shoulders above most of their contemporary instrumental musicians. Meandering and doodling around with pretentious soundscapes is not what the band represents; they represent what it takes to write a memorable song that is simply like riding a roller coaster for the first time. Instrumental music can be a tough pill to swallow, especially when you’re new to the entire genre. We were all raised on vocal driven music with its simplistic song structures and it’s no surprise that instrumental music will never dominate the mass majority. Leaving this comfort zone can be tough but can also be a rewarding adventure. Pelican’s dynamic song structures on The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw
are all that needs to be said here.