Review Summary: While most current post rock bands seem to do nothing more than write Explosions in the Sky cover songs, Giants emerge from the standard with "Old Stories," a refreshing release that proves some groups can still produce unique soundscapes charged with emo
With the genre of post-rock becoming increasingly popular, it is sometimes difficult to sift through the Explosions in the Sky "cover bands," but Giants emerge with a sound that is entirely unique. As the name suggests, I was looking forward to a very grand and epic feel among this album, and "Old Stories" does not disappoint. Following in the footsteps of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Ros, Giants definitely had their work cut out for them in an attempt to create something that could stray from the cookie cutter structure of most post rock compositions.
As this almost 40 minute album begins, there is a noticeable separation from the aforementioned groups. "Where the Ages Steal" explodes with emotion and imagery, and immediately sets the stage for the next six tracks that is "Old Stories." The repetitive guitar pattern, along with the snare roll of the drum track, has a way of putting you on the edge of your seat. As the tension builds, a moment of relief is given, only to be obliterated with the introduction of the entire band. Static undertones, beautifully atmospheric guitar work, and uncharacteristically technical drum patterns create the sound that defines Giants as a formidable force in the realm of post rock.
Pinpointing the emotion felt as this album progresses is difficult, but not impossible. Giants not only tell you their story, but they do it in a way that invades your chest and removes everything you thought you possessed. There is no real resolution to be had, for every song takes you through an emotional roller coaster of sorrow, sadness, and loneliness. Especially in "Fisherman's Prayer," it almost feels as if everyone you know has abandoned you, and the world you once knew is gone. Tragic and alone, until a single ray of hope is provided in the last track of the album. As the name suggests, "At Last Ashore" fills you with the feeling that you've been alone for years, finally arriving in the utopia you've been searching for. Relief, in its purest form. As the album comes to a close, we can finally breathe again, and it is beautiful. As subtly as they entered, Giants moves on to tell their story to the next soul kind enough to listen.
Not to say that Giants have created the perfect album, but this release is definitely a leap from their previous effort, "They, The Undeserving." Similar to most post rock bands, there is a sense of "I've heard this before" throughout the album. The characteristic sound of crushing bass underneath high pitched, emotionally driven guitar work is slowly becoming stagnant among this style. Giants' redeeming factor lies within their drummer. Switching between marching band style snare rolls, to patterns that seem to pay respects to heavier influence, the drum tracks on this album is nothing short of refreshing.
"Old Stories" is an album that is meant to be enjoyed from beginning to end. No song really stands out as better than the others, for the whole 40 minutes seem to blend seamlessly together. Although nothing groundbreaking within the world of post rock, Giants have created something that will continue to stand out among other attempts released within the genre.
While most current post rock bands seem to do nothing more than write Explosions in the Sky cover songs,
ugh untrue untrue
also, I haven't heard this, but there's other bands that have combined emo with post-rock structures both before and after this band that, I'm assuming, have also done it better because they do it damn well.
but yeah, the approach of Giants, if it is what you described, hardly follows Sigur Ros / GY!BE, it follows other post-rock bands. not every post-rock band is derivative of those two, and the supposed 'staleness' of the genre that most reviews of post-rock cite is often a reviewer bias/fault, not all that accurate. but oh well I don't know much anyway, I'll stop...
Awesome job reviewing something unique for your first, keep it up!
thanks for the critique on the review everyone, definitely needed to know if i was approaching these in an interesting and informative manner. tried to stray from the song-by-song analysis that i see far too often on this site.
SeaAnemone - i'll definitely check out a bunny's caravan, never heard of them. but as for moving mountains, i definitely know what you're talking about. my friend got me into them last year and i've always enjoyed what they do. have you listened to their newer album called foreward? and as for the comparison to sigur ros and GY!BE, i was mainly attempting to group Giants in there due to the emotional response i personally received.
Natey - thanks for listing some of those other groups, i don't think i've ever listened to any of those, and i am definitely intrigued.
again, thanks to everyone for the comments, i'll probably do another review sometime soon