Review Summary: A well seasoned debut EP from an aspiring progressive/post-rock 2 man group.
A “two” fold chord cannot quickly be torn in two. Washington’s duo, Wolves in Aramid, is a strong force to be reckoned with. Their ability to create methodical-elegant ballads is superb. Their style is one that is ethereal and engaging. I don’t often connect much with many post-rock pieces but Obsidian
has a certain way with sounds that just hits well, besides being a well put together EP. The nature of their songs tends to allow feelings and notes to naturally build upon each other without becoming lackadaisical.
With the opening self-titled track “Obsidian”, we get the first taste of a synth wave effect that becomes the backdrop for building-delayed-clean-harmonized guitar characters. Used only once on this EP, a brief electronic drum beat builds up for a few seconds before the fashionable drums of James Obrien kick in; adding the final piece to this marriage of textures as the rest of the track resembles the feelings associated with a nice walk through an earthy-high spirited park . Within their realm of drum, synth, guitar, and bass faculties, Wolves in Aramid never compromise their goals of letting each song build off themselves; which is what post-rock is mainly all about and Obsidian
continues to excel in those areas. Being that WIA are able to effortlessly expand upon songs, a solid starting ground seems to be their biggest task. And yet, they excel in that area too! “Adelaide” is a perfect example of a strong foundation. The track starts with an easygoing soundscape of reverb-guitar harmonies greatly resembling the likes of soft wind breezes caressing your face on the tops of cliff overlooks. Slight droning background synths joins the entrancement before the drums kick in with tasty hi-hat licks that are more creative than your typical post-rock songs. The song is completely brought together by an extremely groovy-depressed bass line that raises the song to a completely different level. After a successful build the song slowly peels off its layers until it is nothing.
These advantageous infrastructures are found on every track but each track has its own feel and experience without rehashing ideas once used. If there has to be one track that is the most awe-inspiring and closest to being experimental it would have to the closing “The Moon is Howling”. Each track before is just as good but the chords and progressive natures don’t match the creative abilities found on this closure. “The Moon is Howling” starts with a blend of obscure-like guitar arpeggios, slides, and harmonies not so common with the typical post-rock genre. The progressive natures of Wolves in Aramid show the most on this track than any other because you can consciously tell the groups focus was to break free from the norm of typical song structures without losing the easing flows the album began with. During high build-ups this track makes use of distorted guitar dynamics which only heighten established moods. Certain odd-timed passages leave the track ending like the rest with peeled layers distancing themselves from the cores remnants.
As mentioned before Obsidian
shows that Wolves in Aramid have the potential to push progressive/post-rock to new heights with their application of strong-foundational and meaningful song structures, effortless transitions, and matured experimental advancements. If they continue to create music and take it even further than this offering of Obsidian
we will have more than a case on our hands. Best of wishes to this much needed driving force in the battle of creating music beyond ourselves.