Review Summary: Jeebus, these guys are amazing!
Usually when the prospect of strings are added to post-rock, they're supplementary. I.e, they're not used for very long, and almost always follow a very linear path. But Nice Wings, Icarus! has shattered this post-rock cliche, and infused the use of strings uniquely into their music. They don't follow linear styles, but instead, possess their own eerily creative groove.
Amongst these four tracks, Aurora stands out as not only the paramount of this release, but also the longest, totaling a staggering fifteen minutes. Perhaps because this track is so long, these guys were able to allow their true talent to blister through the limitations the other three possessed, and give way to an entire plethora of hauntingly beautiful string modulations. There's a certain kind of magic here, not performed by any other artist, let alone post-rock artist, that expresses an emotion quite mesmerizing. Aurora captures these emotions, contrasting a sense of erraticism with a building tranquility. Towards the middle of this track, as the violin is played in a very jittery fashion, the guitars, bass, and drums build up in a style expected in bands such as Explosions in the Sky or The Evpatoria Report. This buildup leads to nowhere but a romanticism between the instruments; paralleling the different melodies flawlessly.
And although I may praise Aurora so highly, even going so far as to title it the best amongst the other three, the remainder of this release never stops short of galvanizing enthusiasm. Kids vs Machinery opens in breakdowns and emotional violin modulations, with Nice Wings, Icarus! just beginning to showcase their unique and powerful style. Mastodon, the subsequent song, plays in a similar manner. Though, Mastodon does digress from the opening track, in that its instrumentals are more akin to traditional post-rock, and the violin sharper in expression.
And finally, the conclusion. "Haunted House" begins much like a brew of everything heard so far. While the first half may be relatively weak when compared to its preceding adversaries, the introduction of bells does add something intriguing. The song erupts into a vocalized rock mash up when entering its second half. Certainly a unique way to end the album; though, the vocals weren't quite up to par with the music itself.
Really, if you're a fan of post-rock, there should be no excuse not to listen to this. It possesses elements not found too often in post-rock itself, and expresses them in a near-impeccable manner.