Review Summary: Epic, orchestral post-rock complete with cello and violin.....ahhh...yeah. Before you speak..prepare to shut the fuck up.
I've been coming across some real quality post rock lately. Spearheading this instrumental charge is French orchestral behemoth MØN and their recent gem of an album Sikfor Harenstrüp. Featuring seven men and women who's roles range from bass and drum to violin and cello, MØN create a dense, heavily layered sound. This group takes the traditional values and characteristics of post-rock and spice it up with string instruments, shifting song dynamics and engaging songwriting ability. This is not an album you should pass up.
Sikfor Harenstrüp is a beast of a record coming in at sixty six minutes. Yet, only one of those songs breach the ten minute mark so you shouldn't have any attention span problems. The album never really seems to drag because of how quality the music is. These seven figures create a sound that is diverse and cohesive, often times toying with tempo shifts and layering instruments on top of each other. My bold pick of the day is the said eleven minute epic Kahrs. Opening with a repetitive drum beat and ominous guitar notes one is expecting this song to oppress you the whole way through. A wailing violin soon enters the mix and the mood has yet to shift. The song progresses from passive to aggressive until the four minute mark where the song begins to deconstruct. The music then slows down, cello and guitar soon enter and plays a dramatic sequence that wouldn't sound out of place in a artsy romantic flick. This evolves into the next sequence where some riffy chords and bass go into a rocking beat. Soon after that the song erupts into the same dramatic 50's segue. The mood has lifted it's somber grip, instruments are at it's max capacity and you wonder if the troubled protagonist gets the girl in the end. Song is over.
Not every song on the record is as explosive and emotionally riveting as Kahrs but several come damn close. "Rebruhn", the album's ballad embraces a slower and more controlled approach. Piano, cello and violin interact with each other in such a dynamic way that it's impossible not to be mesmerized.
Daak Tyle Rhak erupts with a battle cry like intro. Militant drums, chugging cello and the twin guitars provide the calm before the storm. You are soon greeted with song's ambitious crescendo. Like Kenny Powers being murdered by jealous terrorists, you will emerge from the wreckage anew. Repaired and reborn with Michael Bay's transformer technology and K Swiss tubes you will smash your foes with a fiery vengeance. On a less positive note, Lukrym introduces the album on the wrong note. When I tell you it sounds a lot like Pink Floyd I really ***ing mean that it sounds like a Shine On You Crazy Diamond cover tune. The main melody, the defining rhythm, everything screams Pink Floyd. Despite this blatant worship/inspiration the song manages to find it's identity half way through the song.
From a aural standpoint MØN do no wrong. They write captivating melodies, boast unforgettable arrangements, and play with so much talent and emotion that you must be some no good, frostbitten, tree-dwelling mother***er to not appreciate this. Instrumentally, these seven figures have aced their individual performances. The rhythm section is exceptionally tight. The bass sounds inspired and is often heard roaming about. Drums provide the momentous foundation for the twin guitars and string instruments to stretch their wings. Guitars are diverse, highly expressive and darkly melodic. The violin, cello and piano are as important to the sound as anything else. They provide a profound level of depth and really enhance the base sound. All I can say is listen to this you lollygagging sexy animals you.