Review Summary: Get out the kleenex folks, this one's a tear-jerker
That statement above is no joke, the sheer beauty of this album is enough to bring tears to the eyes of the listener. Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson have created music so perfect that it should be illegal to overlook it.
Rather than do a track by track review, I will review the album as one long, winding piece of music, as that is how it should be listened to. If you download a few songs here and there off this album, you are not getting the experience that you should deservedly get, had you downloaded the entire album. At any rate, the music itself is extremely ambient with a hint of shoegaze thrown into the mix. Byrd and Thompson borrow the beauty of Sigur Ros' music, and combine it with the emotion of Explosions in the Sky's music, and create something so passionate and perfect, its hard to pass up.
Now, I am extremely stingy about vocals when I listen to post-rock, and let me tell you, this album is almost entirely instrumental. Only the title track has relatively straight forward vocal tracks. Some of the other songs, such as "I Can Almost See You", have a female soprano contribute to the mix, but instead of words and lyrics, it is usually just the occasional "Ohhh's" and "Ahhhh's". A lack of vocals for a post-rock band really hinders my ability to get into them, the reason being that it seems there is a lack of emotion in the music. Bands like God Is An Astronaut, while still fantastic music, isn't very appealing to me because it seems that they are only interested in playing the instruments and doing the bare minimum to get the listener to enjoy the music. However, with this album, Byrd and Thompson managed to reel me in after listening to one song, communicating all their emotion through their instruments.
Speaking of instruments, there certainly is a bevy of them on this album, but there is a surprising lack of one core instrument found in almost every rock band, percussion. Byrd and Thompson, both being guitarists, manage to create a full, rich sound without the use of drums in every song. Unfortunately, the one flaw of this album is that they use the drums at all. The few songs that have a drum track to them, seem to lack the certain out-pouring of emotion that the rest of the tracks have. The drum patterns, while still relatively interesting, seem to take away from the beauty and emotion of the track, and at times seem like they were forced into the music. But again, that is only a minor flaw on an other-wise perfect album. Otherwise, Byrd and Thompson avoid the pitfalls that befall many a post-rock band, such as repetiveness, and create a very intimate, yet dynamic feel about their music
This is a must have for all fans of ambient music, and just good music in general, and the emotion and passion of Bryd and Thompson really shines through all the tracks. While a 76 minute run-time over 18 tracks may seem ungainly to some, I promise it will be one hell of a ride.