Barrow
Though I'm Alone


4.5
superb

Review

by welljesuschrist USER (15 Reviews)
February 13th, 2013 | 10 replies | 2,044 views


Release Date: 03/26/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A defining work.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

If Moving Mountain's beautiful, post-rock landmark Pneuma was the sound of spring seguing into summer, an uplifting cacophony of joyous rebirth and warmth, then Barrow's Though I'm Alone is its bitter, bleak other half. There is no celebration here, no warm post-rock shimmer, no joyous trumpets praising the rise of the sun. This is the withdrawal of autumn, the wasteland of winter, a field of cracked, frost-bitten soil. In terms of genres, it's post-hardcore in name alone. You only need glance at the song titles to get a preview of the alien terrain traversed here – 'Fox Ears And Silence', 'Wither', 'Old Timer', 'Fed (Choking, Retching)', 'Clawhold', 'Dogwood'. Reminiscent of the stoic unsentimentality that pervades Ted Hughes' poetry, they are earthy and evocative, yet curiously peregrine.

This is a dark, dense, expansive record; heavier, yet fuller and more cohesive than their superb 2011 début Being Without. It's also an emotional record, in the best sense of the word. Neither sentimental nor self-pitying, instead it approaches sorrow, rage, regret and hope intelligently, filtering raw experience through Travis Schuster's erudite lyricism and flawless delivery. His lyrics are often opaque, always poetic, and he deftly blends autobiography with literary influences and character study. Penultimate track 'You Can Probably Find It In Norfolk' is a homage to the wretched horror of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel Never Let Me Go. Those familiar with the book, or film adaptation, will appreciate the desperate emptiness evoked here - 'We are birthed with perfect posture, arms held high and heads hung low. We are raised to give all that we have and then we die.'

Opener 'Fox Ears And Silence' is a cluttered, claustrophobic affair – a far cry from the soaring majesty of 'Where I Was' that opened Being Without. 'Wither' employs space and melody to great effect and it's climax is spectacular as Schuster repeatedly howls 'there is nothing left' over a wall of warbling guitar. 'Clawhold' is the album's bruised, barely-beating heart. Featuring just an acoustic guitar and Schuster's pained, plaintive vocals the emotion present is palpable, his voice racked with longing as he gently sings 'I try to stay happy, but the future fights back'. Simple, melancholy and utterly effecting it's both a highlight and brief, but welcome reprieve from the thick-clot, oppressive atmosphere that pervades most of Though I'm Alone. Finale 'God's In His Heaven – All Is Well' closes the record in a fittingly epic fashion; seven swelling minutes of epic melodic hardcore.

There isn't a bad song here, nor a moment wasted, but this isn't an immediate record. It needs attentive, repeat listens for it's form to unravel, for its many small details and nuances to be fully appreciated. Being Without was a great collection of songs; Though I'm Alone is a great album. It's a coherent whole, a composite piece of work with a strong aesthetic, identity and sound. Jump in halfway through and you risk drowning in its murky depths, but allow it flow over you from start to finish and you'll be rewarded with the most engrossing, authentic album released so far this year.



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user ratings (127)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Aziz STAFF (3.6)
Dense, yet achingly breathtaking...

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Being Without

Comments:Add a Comment 
welljesuschrist
February 13th 2013



64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Originally here - http://www.youarentcool.com/reviews/124/though-im-alone

Asdfp277
February 13th 2013



978 Comments


will check for the cover, cool.

Eclecticist
February 13th 2013



3863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow a 4.5? When I saw it on 'It Leaked' I was hesitant but now I guess I have to hear it....

pmmets07
February 13th 2013



5848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this fucking rules, great review as well man

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 13th 2013



49801 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

First sentence great analogy


Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

welljesuschrist
February 13th 2013



64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'Wow a 4.5? When I saw it on 'It Leaked' I was hesitant but now I guess I have to hear it....'

It really is a grower though. At first it can seem like a bit of a clusterfuck, especially the first couple of tracks, but it's worth investing time in imo

Thank you for the compliments too guys!

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 13th 2013



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not really getting the hype on this. Nice record, I guess it's just not really my thing. The vocals are good but people are going ape shit over them saying they're the most incredible thing ever blah blah I guess I'm just not seeing it.

Eclecticist
February 13th 2013



3863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea, this is a 4 at most.

treos777
August 10th 2013



90 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review. This album is shaping up to be the best find of 2013 for me. I really love 'You Can Probably Find It In Norfolk' as Never Let Me Go is my favourite movie. The 'I am complete' at the end is so morbid considering what it means in the movie and novel.

treos777
August 18th 2013



90 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Really good review too by the way.



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