Review Summary: A well done EP that serves as an intro for an interesting Post Rock band. Not every single track is stellar, but the EP delivers an enjoyable experience.
I started listening to Signal Hill in November of 2008. I was relatively new to the Post Rock genre, I had heard a little bit of the more mainstream bands, but I had never dabbled in the more unknown sections of the genre.
Signal Hill's self titled EP gave me a perfect introduction to the beautiful thing that is post rock. I haven't heard a lot of EPs, but this one is pretty up there in my book.
The first track, "Standby, Sir", is a very good intro to the bands sound. At the time, I was really into Shoegaze, and this was a great band that combined both elements, Shoegaze and Post Rock working together. Combined with the ambient dream pop feel, and you got some great stuff on your hands. The band uses no vocals, but I can feel everything that could be expressed by it, the music isn't bland.
The next track, "Los Federeales," isn't as impressive to me as the opener. It has a good feel, but as some Post Rock can get, it feels a little repetitive. However, once you make it past that, it goes into a great build up and transforms the song into something new. The tone in the song is great, and matches their style entirely.
The third track is my personal favorite. "Celadon" is very emotional to me. It's different than any song on the album. At times I even felt myself singing along to it, making up lyrics as I went. It just evokes that kind of feeling. The song feels great and once again has a relaxing feel. If you ever need to sit down and relax, this would be the album, and this song would be the song.
The rest of the album follows the same formula, simulating the ambient dream pop. I just don't find that the songs are as strong. "A Series of Trills" is without a doubt the weakest song on the album. The album makes a jump back with "This New Years Absence". It's without a doubt the most intense song on the album in terms of tone, but the repetitive problem from "Los Federeales" once again becomes a problem. I won't deny the song is good though.
The album ends on a decent note. "California is Too Long" isn't the strongest song of album, but it isn't the weakest. If I could explain the feeling I receive from the song, it is a feeling of resolution. The song is a good ending, and it makes me feel like the album was a soundtrack to something. It's a very unique feeling.
All in all, this is a well done EP. It gives a taste of the unique band Signal Hill, and leaves you wanting more. I wish all the tracks in the album could be top tier, but alas, there are some shortcomings. However, this is definitely an album worth listening too for any Post Rock/Shoegaze lover.