Review Summary: "yea, summary is not up to par with the rest of the review"-LanceBramsay
Metaphorically speaking And So I Watch You From Afar have killed post rock and pissed over it's dead body- admittedly that might be a bit of an extreme comparison. ASIWYFA probably haven't killed post rock yet, but they sure are pissing all over it. I'd imagine the band has a certain disdain for post-rock legends like Godspeed You Black Emperor and Mono, whose post rock is such a grave and weighty affair, consisting off meandering violins and pretentious macabre noodling. It's not that the seven minute build-ups, one and a half minute crescendos, and cliche political speeches weren't exciting at first, because they undoubtably were, but after getting more imitators than an apple product, over time they have just grown stale. Which is why a band like ASIWYFA is illuminating. A band who wants to move post-rock from your local cathedral to your local bar, a band who is presenting a giant fuck
you to post rock conventions, and creating a spark in the genre we have all been waiting for.
So it's good to know that ASIWYFA's lighthearted playfulness is in full swing in the band's latest, Gangs
. The album starts with the fittingly titled "BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION" in which the band latches onto an eccentric riff and drives it to the ground with relentless energy, stopping only for a randomly placed build-up which allows them to drive the riff to the ground more relentlessly then previously before. The title track that follows directly after, is an intensely different experience, an ever-changing parade, which somehow finds it's way into a beautifully serene conclusion. The music remains incredibly unpredictable throughout the album, never fitting into a specific mold. True, it shares a striking resemblance to math-rock, but it's math-rock with a desperate need of Ritalin, abandoning it's technicality with a "color outside the lines" attitude.
Unfortunately despite the heaps of praise that you can attribute to the album, there's something immensely disappointing about Gangs
. Basically because it isn't any different than anything the band has done before. "7 Billion People Alive At Once" includes a giant group vocal explosion in it's core. Sound familiar? It's identical to what they used in their debut's centerpiece, "Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate". In fact everything in Gangs is the same, boiling the album to a collection of energetic imitations. There is nothing in the album which expands the bands sound, nothing that sounds remotely unique in context of their previous output. ASIWYFA is far from needing an aesthetic makeover, but the complete lack of experimentation within the bands sound is downright disheartening. Don't get me wrong-And So I Watch You From Afar have used all the right colors in their new album , but the picture they painted is just a different shade of their last one. And Where's the fun in that?
So ironically, for a band who is fighting the redundant culture of post-rock, Gangs
threatens to make the band exactly that, redundant. Everything in Gangs
is well done, thoughtfully put together, and devilishly concoctive, yet unfortunately, nothing is as exciting as it was the second time through. Gangs
isn't so much a step forward as it is a step sideways. Luckily for ASIWYFA, they're ahead of the majority of their peers, but at this rate, they won't be there for long.