Review Summary: More of the same isn't always a bad thing.
The aspect that sets God Is An Astronaut aside from their more critically acclaimed post rock counterparts is their willingness to embrace the accessible side of post rock while still maintaining their emotional depth. The chemistry between their ethereal backgrounds, electronic influences and hip hop like rhythms is what made All Is Violent, All Is Bright
such a masterpiece. At the same time it retained a certain amount of accessibility and replay value so the listener could basically throw it on and enjoy it at any time. This time around the band for the most part completely abandons any type of electronic influence in favor of a more traditional post rock sound. Even though their self-titled album isn’t drastically different compared to All Is Violent, All Is Bright
, this album is one of those cases where the “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it” aspect actually works in their favor.
In God Is An Astronaut
less of an emphasis is placed in the slow burning builds and more in the typical song like structure. Make no mistake that these builds are not completely gone, but they unfold in a more accessible manner. ”Shadows” for example starts off the album with compelling percussion and evocative guitar riffs, but it transitions into a very layered yet catchy chorus. The song epitomizes an epic movie action scene perfectly with its epic sound and stirring atmosphere. The same can be said about "Shores Of Orion with its incredible drumming, guitar work and spacey mood. Though it’s undeniably less accessible, “Snowfall” also features these traits, but with a much lighter tone. Its introduction amazes the listener with soothing guitar work and an extremely content vibe, but then it swells into a more traditional post rock song with numerous rises and crescendos. Rest assured, those who are looking for accessibility will surely find it here, but those more traditional post rock lovers can also find a home here.
Much like All Is Violent, All Is Bright
the key aspect that really makes God Is An Astronaut
succeed lays in their evocative moods. Throw this on after a long stressful day at work and you will surely be taken away. The most inspiring moods of this album come from the slower tracks like “First Day Of Sun” and Remaining Light.” The former thrives in its simmering and gentle guitar and even though it never really builds into anything “big” to say the least, it’s nonetheless an awe inspiring song. However, “Remaining Light” unfolds itself in quite differently in which it transitions from a very light piano driven song into a brooding and ominous ending. Both parts of this song are exceptionally impressive as individual songs, but when they are put together like this the second part seems very out of place. For what the second part of the song is it’s amazing, but as a crescendo that it was meant to be, it only proves to be anti-climactic because once the listener expects the song to rise more it abruptly ends. It’s safe to say they both could have been split up as separates interludes and superb interludes they could have been.
As great as this album is it also leaves the listener desiring more variety because the songs really blend together and are sometimes a bit overlong. However, this is okay because all of the songs on their self-titled album are of no doubt high quality. In order to top their sophomore masterpiece they need to think more outside of the box and try something very different. It’s because of these aspects that this album isn’t for everyone, but for those willing to forgive the “more of the same” aspect of music like myself definitely don’t pass this up. It’s a very impressive “more of the same” album filled with tons of immediate and slow burning post rock songs with inspiring and brooding atmospheres. Their greatest strength lays deep in their textured guitar work and their ability to fully embrace the accessible side of post rock the right way.