Sometimes you hear something for the first time, and you aren't all that impressed. Sometimes you hear something for the first time, and something about it draws you back into it again later. Sometimes, you hear something for the first time and are completely blown away. yndi halda's freshman release, enjoy eternal bliss
falls in that last category.
yndi halda is:
Jack Lambert - guitar
Daniel Lovegrove - bass
Daniel Neal - violin
Oliver Newton - drums
James Vella - guitar
sometimes: keely plays clarinet, yndi sing ragged yelps, daniel neal plays more violin, james plays glockenspiel, oliver plays tamborine.
I guess you could call yndi halda's first EP, enjoy eternal bliss
, their 'self titled debut', but that would just serve to confuse those that don't know that 'yndi halda' means 'enjoy eternal bliss' in Icelandic. However, no matter what country you're from nothing will get lost in translation while listening to their first release. The professional quality not only applies to the recording, but to the songcrafting as well - an elegant combination of guitars and other stringed instruments reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, as well as clarinets and the occasional full-bodied chorus of voices really carry across yndi halda's message on this record.
"dash and blast" starts off with a very slow build, again harkening to GY!BE and similar others, but yndi halda take their music in a different direction than the Canadian titans - instead of a very long build built, followed by an amazing climax and a long fall (wash, rinse, repeat), they keep a more consistent musical "high", similar to Sigur Ros and some Explosions in the Sky (on The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
). Through and through, once it builds past a (relatively) slow start, this one is a great listen, and in a grand way mixes in lots of both sadness and hope, and puts a genuine smile on my face when I listen to it. The orchestration of the piece shows yndi halda have a certain maturity in their writing, something they will continue to prove throughout enjoy eternal bliss
"we flood empty lakes", the shortest track at a mere
11:42, cuts to the chase with much more immediacy than the track before. We are instantly presented the theme, which becomes a mantra for the other instruments to revolve around and spin off in their own directions. This is fairly normal for Post-Rock, though they get to where they're going in a much less drawn-out fashion, and the original mantra gets "flooded", if you will, until it's barely heard under the thick layers of sound. Everything suddenly backs off, and new themes develop, slower this time, but with urgency. This strategy is done three times, promptly to start (as described), less so the second time, and over several minutes to climax the last time. The best part is - it works. Instead of starting slow and building to the most intense points at the end, yndi halda have inverted the scheme - the make the cycle progessively slower, and yet grows steadily more intense and desperate with each climax.
"illuminate my heart, my darling!" is the pinnacle of this band's work, making use of all their tricks in their bag. I was so moved when I finally heard this track for the first time that the music overwhelemed me and overtook me, such that I was literally almost unable to move. This track contains some of the purest emotional outcries and some of the most impacting sadness on the whole EP, which is truly saying something. Remeber that time you listened to that Sigur Ros song and it reminded you of your saddest memory ever? This track is just like that song, only it reaches the peak of expresses that same, crushing sadness in the first four minutes
. Every instrument is used to amazing effect, particularly the clarinets, whose sweet tone cut through just enough, especially when set against violin lines, and the whole thing is just dripping with emotion. Positively oozing. The rhythm section provides a steady drive, and the when the guitars cut in with incredible power and force, it's the rawest and singularly most beautiful moment on the EP, and, in fact, anything I've listened to in a long time. The middle of this track has a long, quiet section in the middle, centered around a lone guitar, which suits the track perfectly - it allows you some time to recover from the first half before setting up the final close. These guys prove with this track in particular that they know exactly what they are doing and how to achieve maximum effect, and are being done a great injustice with their "amateur" status.
In short, enjoy eternal bliss
is an intersting use of irony on the band's part, because this album's highlights mostly slam the listener with a very beautiful, often overwhelming, sadness. This so-called EP takes up a full three quarters of an hour, longer than most Beatles LPs, and is very attention demanding. Trying to write a review while listening to the EP again was rather difficult - this music needs to be focused on by the listener to be truly enjoyed, as is the case with much of Post-Rock. yndi halda as a whole are a hybrid of sounds from the greats that came before them and inevitably inspired them, though they take what is great about these artists and leave out a lot of the fluff, at times imrpoving on the formulas. And for a first release, that is damn good work. They borrow heavily from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and rival them in track length at times, but are much more to the point. They capture the warmth of Sigur Ros, but are less glacial. They evoke Explosions in the Sky, but with more instrumental diversity. They sound like a Post-Rock band that seriously deliver the goods.
- Magnificently created music; very mature songwriting.
- yndi halda beg, borrow, and steal from the titans of Post-Rock, while defining their own sound.
- The consistently long songs do not drag, and intensity is maintained.
- Some of the most impacting and profound music to come from an amateur band, let alone any band, in years.
- The songs are very long and attention demanding; may deter more casual listeners.
- I have yet to find an yndi halda band t-shirt. What's up with that.
- I also have an very short list of complaints.
FINAL SCORE: 4.5/5
If you are a fan of Post-Rock, these are the guys to watch. Even if Post-Rock is not you're thing, you should give yndi halda a try, at least if you appreciate beautiful music.