Review Summary: If you are looking for something that is different, but not pretentious, pick up a copy of "they come, they'll come."3 of 3 thought this review was well written
"they'll come, they come" is the first full length record by immanu el, a relatively unknown Swedish band that have been described on thier label's website as "indie pop with post-rock/ambient influences", a strange description as "indie pop" and "post rock/ambient" are pretty much antitheses of one another. I wouldn't say that is an inaccurate description, but I would say that this description does not do them justice. When I think of "indie pop", I (personally) think of a cute little hipster girl with a Yamaha keyboard and acoustic guitar writing fun little singalong love songs. Not saying that there's anything wrong with that, but I believe that Immanu El completely transcend this image. There are vocals, but that's where the similarities with "indie pop" end. "they'll come, they come" does not have much of the "fun" or "catchiness" that I would assosciate with indie pop, instead, it falls on completely opposite sides of the emotional spectrum.
the atmosphere of this album is one of transcendence; deeply emotional, captivating, cinematic. The keyword here is "atmosphere": this entire album is enriched with it. The overall mood of this album is positive, there is no angst or melancholy here. The music is not happy-go-lucky, but hopeful; an honest, genuine optimism. The overall moods of the songs are conveyed subtly and poetically in a manner that gives the music kind of an introspective feel; this is the kind of music that gives you a feeling of contentment as you listen to it after the end of a long day.
Structurally, the songs are quite simple, but the execution is nothing short of breathtaking. The use of dynamics, texture, and timbre is really what makes this album so mesmerizing. Each of the instruments work together to create an almost ethereal landscape; guitars and pianos are responsible for most of the melodies, but bass guitars, keyboards, cellos, and drums play an equally important role in shaping the textures of the music. Effects such as reverbs and delays accentuate, but so not overpower the sounds of the instruments. The cello is not used very extensively, but when it is used, it adds a very nice delicate and organic touch to the songs. The vocals, while gentle and soft-spoken, are actually quite expressive. The vocals are not the forefront of the music, as they are subdued enough to work more as an additional instrument than a "singer" in the traditional sense. Dynamics of the instruments are beautifully utilized...Crescendos are used in a way that seems to release tension and energy from the otherwise restrained music. The opening track, "under your wings I'll hide" is probably the most energetic track on the album, and is the most reliant on loud-soft dynamics. It is a quite uptempo track, and even though the guitar melodies are relatively simple, they are made extremely powerful through the use of contrasting tempos and volumes. "in valleys" is the closing track, and it could not be a more perfect closer. The ending crescendo to this song is one of the finest moments in music I have ever heard; the guitar riffage and the vocal melodies in the last minute of the song are a cacophonous, but harmonious wall of sound that is almost like a religious experience in it's intensity. Tracks such as "I know you so well", "white seraphs wild", and "astral days" show the overall compositional skill of the band, intertwining melodic guitar and piano lines with tasteful layering and textures. "I know you so well" is probably the most "ambient" track on the album. It is mostly guitar driven, using plenty of effects to create a spacey, dreamy mood. "astral days" is the closest thing to "pop" on this album, and most straightforward. It is actually quite catchy and pleasant; driven by primary by vocal melodies and major-key chord progressions on the piano.
Overall this is a more than solid effort for a first full length, this band seems to be loaded with potential judging from this excellent first album. Immanu El seems to have the ability to put a real "soul" into their music. It is sincere and human, as opposed to the sterile and formulaic approach that many other post-rock/ambient/whatever bands seem to have taken on. If you are looking for something that is different but not pretentious, pick up a copy of "they come, they'll come."