Review Summary: One man from Ukraine creates a stunning, piano driven post-rock record.
The first time I heard “To Whom It May Concern” I thought I was prancing in the heavens with Nick “Goose“ Bradshaw, Audrey Hepburn, Ghandi and George Washington. Sitting high above the earth in a field of dreams of sorts. There were elves prancing about while constructing joyous harp melodies, a newly reformed Darth Vader playing chess with Sun Tzu, mint water flowing from the river of truth, people dancing and chest bumping etc. Sorry, I might have gotten off topic there for a bit but this particular record is one of the most serene and distinctive representations of post-rock that I’ve ever heard. The album is “To Whom This May Concern’ and the artist is The Best Pessimist. Hailing somewhere out of Ukraine, multi instrumentalist Sergey Lunev decided to form a solo instrumental project. My gut tells me his ambition was to create uplifting, dreamy music for the feel good crowd. Then again my gut tells me to repeatedly spend six dollars on organic Kashi pizzas when I get hungry. Regardless if my gut is correct or not, Sergey creates highly engaging and emotional music that almost anyone should be able to appreciate.
As sole musician and lone creative force of the band, Sergey is forced to confront his own musical influences, songwriting abilities, musicianship and ambition to create something spectacular. Embracing the traditional archetypes of instrumental post-rock while rejecting the genre’s masturbatory love for fifteen minute tracks and overreaching pretension , Sergey focuses on creating heartfelt, dynamic yet uncomplicated music that can be easily enjoyed. The nature of the music is both melancholic and optimistic with harmonious guitar notes and piano providing the bulk of the melodies and uplifting atmosphere. Opening with “We Are…The Dream” which starts off as some kind of church choir meets Braveheart meets Romeo & Juliet sequence and later evolving into an ambient piano driven piece, I could tell “To Whom It May Concern’ was not unlike any of the other blanket post-rock records I’ve heard in recent times. Passion and inspiration is what sets this album apart from others. You can feel that Sergey spent lot of time constructing each of the nine tracks on TWIMC . The songwriting is varied and engaging, the melodies are effervescent, and the song lengths range from four to seven minutes so this album is easily digestible.
The album is driven by Sergey’s emotive piano playing, often times leading the way while at other’s blending in the background. This piano dynamic strengthens the instrumental prowess of The Best Pessimist. While the guitars gently plod away and the rhythm section provides the rocking beats, the piano is what holds everything together. There is something profound about how all the instruments used here mesh together so perfectly. The bass, drums, synth, piano and guitar are textured so profusely it’s almost as they are fused together, The compositions themselves are written to be emotional yet not complex, engaging without being tedious, and moderate in length without excess or filler. Tempos shift regularly, opting for low to mid tempo and mid to low tempo. The diversifying speeds and loud to soft dynamics help keep the album from becoming stale or disjointed. The music flows almost effortlessly while transitioning to the next song. And it is this quality that makes “To Whom it May Concern” such an enjoyable record to listen to.
Sergey’s debut record is wrapped up in lavish production values. The piano notes ring with poise, the drums plod away with confidence, bass is often heard complementing the upbeat guitar melodies, and the crescendos hit you like a rollercoaster to the abdomen. “To Whom It May Concern” is a monumental win to not only post-rock but to instrumental music in general. The flaws are few and in between, the key argument that can be made is that piano driven post rock has already been done before. However, Sergey’s passion and artistic approach to creating instrumental post-rock elevates itself much higher than the rest of his modern contemporaries. This album should appeal to pretty much anyone and everyone with an open mind. All I can say is you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t bother checking this out.