Review Summary: One of the best albums you’ve already heard before.
In a world that’s ever changing and growing, it’s hard to be original. People have done so much, in every single aspect imaginable, that we’ve almost given up on being completely creative. Our houses, our cars, our instruments, even our daily lives are built upon principles from another time. We sit here, in the comfort of familiarity, and somehow we still crave difference. Everything seems so concrete and straightforward, that we hardly give it a second thought. Yet, in the world of art, and especially the world of music, there always seems to be someone pushing new, strange ideas – whether it’s Banksy, or Slint. But there comes a time when nothing new is produced, and every single thing is rehashed and redone. It becomes stale. People complain about music being so ‘unoriginal’ or a ‘rip-off of that cooler unknown band’. But I just want to throw something out there – why? Why does the music you listen to need
to be fresh and exciting? Just because it follows the same blueprint as its influence, doesn’t mean it’s bad. This Is Your Captain Speaking
, a band hailing from down under, proves that point exactly with their second album, Eternal Return
. Sit back, relax, and listen. You might just enjoy yourself.
This Is Your Captain Speaking
. The name itself pretty much just shouts ‘post-rock’, but is very appropriate to the sound of the music. When I think of a captain on a ferry, or a plane, I think of that voice telling you it’s going to be okay. There’s this voice that appears, throughout the journey, telling you things, fading in and out behind a wall of static. You’ll be pulled into the calm and commanding tone, waiting for the end. This, in effect, is the formula on Eternal Return
. The album seems to lull in and out of consciousness, with reverb and echo ever present in the guitars. ‘Part 1’, the album opener starts out as mere silence, and then continues to grow. Faded guitar notes transform into tremolo-picked flurries, with drums padding on softly behind them. The build up stops. A quiet guitar continues under a slow wall of sound, and the drums pick up. Another guitar enters, ever so softly, and then another. An entire wall of sound is formed in a few minutes, in what seems like forever. Guitars are layered upon one another, with a main riff slowly playing while a lead part quietly echoes underneath. The effect is somehow natural, and yet completely surreal. Each song here has a great atmosphere to it, and while the album feels theme-less, the music itself creates a theme.
This Is Your Captain Speaking
do something many post-rock bands fail to achieve, in creating something completely enthralling. When you listen to the music, you’re sucked in entirely. The music is intricate, the notes tightly knit around each other, never letting up. If one guitar slows down, the other slows down right with it, weaving melodies underneath. The guitars are almost never inactive, and act as the base for the layers of sound. The bass is always apparent as well, almost bouncing around the guitars, in a way that complements each new rhythm. Oddly, though, the drums here are almost non-existent. If any instrument on the album should have been showcased a little more, it is definitely the drums. The performance on them is tight, and equally important in the music (as drums usually are), yet also laid back. Cymbals are used effectively in each passage, with the snare and bass pedal only appearing in the ‘climax’ of songs. They almost sound as if the other band members said ‘Just play as quietly as you can, and as little as you can, so we can show off a little, alright?’ However, that’s my only gripe about the album, and, in a way, it works for This Is Your Captain Speaking
. They’re definitely a band focused on the melodies of stringed instruments, and in turn, create some of the most beautiful and captivating sounds heard from Australia's music scene.
Anyone who calls themselves a fan of post-rock, and dare I say, music, should listen to Eternal Return
. From serene, echoing passages, to massive soundscapes, the album never loses the attention of its listener. The production is polished and meticulous, with every song rising and fading in exactly the right way. It may not be anything new, but it’s good enough that it stands head and shoulders above dozens of albums coming out today.