Review Summary: Unique and compelling. The Collibro is one of the best unsung albums of this year so far.
To call Lis Er Stille
post rock in a sense of the conventional post rock which has become familiar in the music scene in which they have been labelled with would not only be completely unfair but also completely unjust to their latest work The Collibro. Post Rock, rightly or wrongly has to some become somewhat of a stagnant genre. After the emergence of particular big name groups like Explosions in the Sky, a whole range of bands have come and gone sharing the same characteristics and trends of post rock to the point where it can be argued ideas in the genre have been continuously been recycled. Often long guitar lead build ups (not always however) accompanied with subtle ambience, with the inclusion of maybe piano or string instruments with perhaps the inclusion of quite subdued passages leading up to a climax often near the end of a song. This is not to say Lis Er Stille do not have build ups or even guitar passages, but many aspects of their song structures, compositions and inclusions of styles and elements in their music manage to step out of the realms of traditional and modern post rock. With the inclusions of other genres like progressive rock and experimental tendencies even to the rather loose comparison of Avant-Garde, Lis Er Stille have stepped away from the post rock conventions and have truly moulded an unique sound of their own.
One characteristic of Lis Er Stille’s sound is that it is often piano lead. The Guitar for a lot of the album takes the backseat to some absolutely breathtaking piano leads and melodies which create some of the best moments of the entire album. Songs like Recalling the Cover
are an example of where Lis Er Stille take the post rock conventional influences but use them in an entirely different context, switching piano and guitar leads on a dime with such ease, precision and fluidity . There is no ‘climax’ in a sense that Yndi Halda could produce in overwhelming fashion rather there are several moments scattered across the album which are thrilling and that are spread out across the entire song structures. This leads to a more overall satisfying and fulfilling listen and not one which is just built up for the climax or having an overall soundscape like the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Not to say however that Lis Er Stille have gone for a more song structural and rigid approach. This may appeal to more disillusioned fans of Post Rock who are tired of the same conventions repeated over and over and even may surprise the more conventional post rock fan too.
What also seperates Lis Er Stille from the rest of modern post rock is the inclusion of other genres melded into the overall sound. There are several nods to prog rock and progressive music in the way in which Lis Er Stille have taken a rather different approach to post rock and rock music in genre but also experimental and vaguely, Avant-garde. In particular one of the best songs of the album The Real Children
has a very chaotic ending which can be seen to have been influenced by Black Metal. Fast Tremolo pick riffing is accompanied with high falsetto’s and fast piano notes layered over the top. This is only a brief climax to a well built song which in theory sounds horrible, but somehow they pull it off and ends up being one of the highlights to a superb album.
More than other Post Rock bands, Vocals are used throughout the album and become a prominent part. The Flow from song to song is excellent, and is absent of any filler. The shorter songs are used to great effect to continue the flow of the album, becoming part of the whole package, often accompanied with more subdued, sombre and Baritone vocals. In the Seed
is a beautifully string lead piece which is almost developed enough to be considered a song rather than an overlapping interlude which flows perfectly into the closing track, an example the albums overall flow and continuity.
Overall, this album is an unique experience, whilst there are definite similarities to the more average post rock, it succeeds in creating something unique and compelling. Send in the Scouts
may just be one of the songs of the year, building from the beginning bass and Guitar riffs into a truly explosive song with layers of guitar, piano and electronica all brought together from around the 2 minute mark which may be where the album really begins to shine and come together. Definitely one of the best unsung albums of this year so far.