Jakob
Sines


4.0
excellent

Review

by ComeToDaddy USER (47 Reviews)
October 18th, 2014 | 190 replies


Release Date: 10/21/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Off-balance - for better and for worse

Jakob have always been a very balanced band. Never one to rush, they would take their time developing their songs, ensuring they were fleshed out and fully realized before coming to a climax or ending. On paper, this makes a perfect post-rock band, but it didn’t translate so effectively to record. While production value and composition have always been stellar, playing it safe ultimately results in a black-and-white predictable album, which was the solitary flaw that plagued both Solace and Cale Drew. ‘Oran Mor’ exemplifies this, with its headlong dive into a climax of crash cymbals and feedback, standing out exactly because it blindsides the listener and is totally uncharacteristic of the band. Predictability yields stagnation, and while the band were far from stagnant with 3 great albums under their belt, it was hard to ignore the possibility. “Was” is the key word however, and Jakob have succeeded in staving off complacency by widening their musical horizons and diversifying their formula in fourth outing, Sines.

The choice of lead single is unsurprising, using the piece most reminiscent of older works, ‘Blind Them With Science’. Like an artist painting a new work with a familiar style, this track deliberately and methodically goes through the motions, with the thick delay-driven guitar layers and varied drum work adding layers to the canvas and pushing the song forward. While certainly one of their standout ‘heavy’ tracks, it exists more as an ode to the past, a dedication to die-hard fans who have waited patiently for 8 long years since Solace. This makes it clear from the get-go that their niche hasn't changed, but moving on from the opener we are greeted by ‘Emergent’, which may be the prettiest track the band have ever written. Quite unlike anything found on previous releases, this piece is wholly devoid of drums, featuring a simple repeating melody as the centrepoint of the piece while a string section weaves its way around the guitar. These newfound strings are a prominent facet of the album, adding new shades to the palette and introducing some much needed variation to the compositions. This shift sets the pattern for the remainder of the album, and indicates to the listener that they shouldn’t expect a rehash of their back catalogue.

There are several standout moments throughout Sines that serve to differentiate this album from the rest. ‘Harmonia’ has a dichotomy seldom found elsewhere in the genre, contrasting aggression with pleasant orchestral arrangements. ‘Darkness’ meanders aimlessly with tempered drums, coming as a surprise after 30+ minutes of mostly driving percussion, and the title track/closer ‘Sines’ similarly evades expectations by opting for softer brush strokes to round out the album. This is a stark contrast to the aggressive opener, and the stylistic disparity is a double edged sword. The diversity is a huge step forward, but it adds slight inconsistencies to the albums flow that become especially prominent after several playthroughs. Once the surprise of the mellow closing section wears off, it becomes something of an immersion breaker. Once the beauty of the string section in ‘Harmonia’ wears off, it becomes jarring; while ‘Emergent’ blends the colours together admirably, the solitary strings of the former track stick out like a sore thumb. Credit is due for the experimentation, especially where it is successful, but the eight years of tribulations have taken their toll on the albums consistency, and ultimately pulled it below their past works.

Considering the trials the band have faced since Solace and the amount of time this album has taken to write and record, it’s unreasonable to expect Sines to flow perfectly, and to their credit, this album contains some of the singularly most satisfying moments the band has to offer. The willingness to expand on their signature sound, despite fans waiting 8 long years for the release, is a gambit worthy of praise. The core of their sound has remained mostly intact and older devotees will undoubtedly find plenty to love here, but the increased focus on experimentation and pushing the envelope make this a perfect starting point for those unsure of what to expect from Jakob. Being off-balance isn’t always a bad thing; the surprises give the album more impact in early listens, while the unique atmospheric music that the band specializes in lends the album its staying power. Sines is largely colours not previously utilized by the band, and while sometimes the colours clash and splashes miss the page, it makes for an engaging and absorbing work. Who knows, when they learn to manage their widened palette, they could paint a masterpiece.



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user ratings (157)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2014


6127 Comments


nice review man, looks good, pos. I'll give another read through and try to pick out some stuff

ComeToDaddy
October 17th 2014


1506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That'd be great man. There's a couple of parts that I'm unhappy with just because it makes it sound as though I dislike their past works, when I love them, but I couldn't find alternative ways to phrase it.



As always, contrustive criticism is welcomed and appreciated guys (:



Stream - http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/421568/advance-stream-jakobs-long-awaited-new-album-sines.htm

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2014


6127 Comments


pretty sure semicolons need to be separated by 2 clauses, maybe just use a hyphen. then again, pretty sure I've done the same thing so idfk

ok, so all in all good review. my main gripe is that it's a bit heavier on straightforward musical description than it needs to be. it basically says "here's what you will hear" and not enough insight to get me interested (provided I wasn't already familiar)... ya know? For a 4/5 I wouldn't mind seeing a bit more enthusiasm.

I mean, here's your concluding sentence: "Sines is an admirable effort from a band who remain unmatched in their niche, and though inconsistent, is a welcome return for one of the most unique and engaging post-rock bands around." kinda boring way to end it IMO

ComeToDaddy
October 17th 2014


1506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ohhhh yeah I messed up, I'll fix that up right away, thanks man.



Yeah closing statements are the weakest part of my reviews, it's something I'll replace if I come up with something clever but I have a really hard time with it. No matter how many staff conclusions I read over I can never find a verbose, well-written ending for my own.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2014


6127 Comments


I mean, if I was interested I could just listen to the album and hear all the elements you pointed out, so I don't feel it's necessary to lay it all out for me beforehand. It's just not persuasive. It does't tell me "this is why you might like this" or "this is why you might not" it's just "this is what you will hear". If I was just casually perusing the site and saw this review, and was unfamiliar with the band, I'd probably not listen to them based off of this.

PLUS you reference their 'back catalogue' and 'previous works' a fair amount, which makes it feel like this review caters only to people already familiar with them.

re: conclusions - they don't have to be verbose, but it doesn't hurt to make them snappy and leave a good impression.

PS - I'm being really critical here. This is an excellent review, but I think if you chopped down your reviews a little bit - at least in terms of the straightforward descriptions - they'd be that little bit more interesting to read, especially for casual readers. A lot of people on here forget that they aren't just writing for other reviewers. This is just some advice I think would improve your reviews' appeal as a whole. Just food for thought anyway

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
October 17th 2014


4408 Comments


Auto-pos, will read and analyze tomorrow morning.

ComeToDaddy
October 17th 2014


1506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm super grateful for the critical feedback, it's much more practical and useful when I want to improve my writing.



That second point is huge, I intended to use the back catalogue statements to give unfamiliar listeners an understanding of what separates this album from their others, but looking at it now in that light, it clashes heavily with the rest of the review. I'll try to reword it, thank you so much man.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2014


6127 Comments


upate: yeah man, the review looks better now. I like the way you wrapped it up, and I think as a whole it's more concise. nice work

ComeToDaddy
October 17th 2014


1506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're a champion, thanks a heap for everything man. If there's anything I can help with at some stage, let me know, I owe you one

amanwithahammer
October 18th 2014


585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, so stoked to hear this aaahhhhh

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
October 18th 2014


10444 Comments


fantastic review man, loved the whole painting metaphor and the first paragraph is really good, pos'd hard. My only minor gripe with the review is that it's a tad too structured for my taste, could be a little more 'adventurous' imo, but that's really only a personal thing.

Digging: Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse

DarkNoctus
October 18th 2014


9923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

These newfound strings are extremely prominent throughout the albums runtime




only shows up in 2 tracks so i'll be surprised if are prominent for much more than 5 minutes



your review is very well written for what it is but it comes across as a little premature to me and also very clinical

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 18th 2014


24010 Comments


Great job as always with this review. Never heard these guys before but I'll certainly listen to this.

Digging: Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile To The Surface

ComeToDaddy
October 18th 2014


1506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the feedback guys, I'll definitely work on the sterility of my reviews in the future considering how many people have mentioned that



@noct, I meant to use prominent to indicate that they are the main focus whenever they appear, but I can see how I didn't get that across at all. Will edit that, thanks for the pickup

Ignimbrite
October 18th 2014


6169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

While production value and composition have always been stellar, playing it safe ultimately results in a black-and-white predictable album, which was the solitary flaw that plagued both Solace and Cale Drew




lol @ implying that those albums have flaws (I kid, I kid)



solid review, though

Digging: Algiers - The Underside of Power

RadicalEd
October 18th 2014


8328 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Review is great.



I disagree hard on the album being of balance though.

ProfessorVeerappan
October 18th 2014


808 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fucking intense review really like the way things are given down in simple words and proper description of the band's previous work

well done.



Thibs
October 18th 2014


2597 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review. looking forward to this

adr
October 18th 2014


11630 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review, pos. Album is prob in my top 10 this year, it's rly good.

Digging: The Birthday Party - Live 1981-82

Artuma
October 18th 2014


28585 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

top 1 for me. absolutely perfect

Digging: City of Caterpillar - Driving Spain Up A Wall



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