Review Summary: I want my brother back but you can keep my father.
The post-rock market is chock-full of bands hoping to become the next Explosions in the Sky
, offering very little in the way of originality or creativity. While the soft/loud/soft again method is tried and true, it gets predictable easily and the lack of not knowing what's in store can altogether ruin the experience of listening to an album. Some bands, however, are starting to recognize that pattern and think outside the box a little more in order to gain recognition from the music world. Sleepmakeswaves, a young quartet from the Land Down Under, impressed many listeners with their 2008 release In Today Already Walks Tomorrow.
, though there was something missing that was stopping them from reaching their true potential. It was almost like they hadn't quite defined their own sound yet. Enter ...and so we destroyed everything.
By utilizing textured electronics to complement massive, rolling soundscapes, Sleepmakeswaves have managed to break away from the pack and produce a very solid sophomore release.
The most major difference from the debut album is the production. Whatever issues the band had with ensuring that all the instruments can be heard clearly have been remedied, as the sound is a major component of what makes this album so enthralling. The band have that special ability to swap colossal rhythmic sections with soothing ambient segments without losing a step, and they demonstrate their abilities in that aspect wonderfully. Emotional passages play a strong role in captivating the listener, and they are especially needed with a lack of vocals to help guide things along. The title track is perhaps the best example of what Sleepmakeswaves can bring to the table - it's eerie, melodic, charming and heavy, all at the same time. The song also demonstrates that there is never a lull or a down-point during the music, which is a problem that plagues so many up-and-coming post-rock bands; it interrupts the flow and never allows the music to really come together. Instead, even the softer parts are captivating and are (at points) even more enjoyable than the heavy portions.
"A Gaze Blank And Pitiless As The Sun" is my own personal favourite piece from the album. It proves that build-ups do not have to be timid and reserved to be effective. Instead, the band injects liveliness and phenomenal musicianship into a tired and overdone process. The drumming on this track (and on the entire album, for that matter) is stellar, and it is really the glue keeping the rest of the musicians together. Here, fantastic double bass passages and crashing symbols highlight a barrage of chugging melody, relenting only for short periods as the electronic segues give the listener a break in the excitement. The sombre horns towards the closing minutes are a fabulous touch, accenting the raw feeling and excitement that radiates from the preceding music.
The pretentious song titles, unspaced band name and creative artwork you'd expect from a typical post-rock band are all here. However, the music itself is anything but typical. It grabs hold of the listener and refuses to let go, throwing all of the stereotypes around post-rock being boring and slow out the window. While it doesn't revolutionize the genre, it builds off of past influences and comes together admirably well in the end. If you've been looking for some excitement and originality in this scene, this is the place to get it. Sleepmakeswaves have hit a home run with this release, and I consider it to be one of the best post-rock albums of 2011.