And So I Watch You From Afar
Heirs


3.0
good

Review

by Dan H. EMERITUS
May 10th, 2015 | 49 replies


Release Date: 05/04/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Neither here nor there.

Heirs is like that guy you once met at a party who, upon entering, became the party. Absolutely infectious in his positivity with the rare ability to crank the feel good factor up to eleven, this guy is effortlessly contagious. As long as the night is young and the party is still going, you want this guy flowing. However, morning arrives and you awake on the couch to the very same guy grabbing a warm, half finished beer from next to the bin, swigging away with half a dance still in his step. As he staggers around prodding prone bodies around him, it dawns on you that this guy is permanently stuck on eleven, and all of the things which made him so endearing the night before suddenly make him fairly grating in any other context. Despite the extreme comparison, it’s important to stress how vital the right environment is for Heirs to truly flourish. The album is excitable and immediate, but it’s simply too intense to really work anywhere outside of the habitat it will undoubtedly thrive in; the live stage. Listening from the safe confines of your home you’ll find yourself wishing you could tell Heirs to take a breather and relax a little, but in the great outdoors you’ll probably find yourself doing the exact opposite.

It’s easy to see how Heirs was born, and in many ways you can’t blame And So I Watch You From Afar for the direction they’ve headed in. They perfected and never bettered the heavy post rock featured on their self titled debut, and delving even deeper, you could argue that they never managed to top the bombastic opening triple assault. What’s more, ASIWYFA’s brilliant, frenetic live shows almost always include the audience singing their lyric-less songs note for note right back at them. Heirs feels like the answer to a question the band might very well have asked themselves after one of these such shows - why not give them something to really sing along to?

Having been one of many enthusiastic fans shouting the notes of “Set Guitars to Kill” right back at them in a field in Bristol, I’m absolutely certain that these songs will blossom in the same atmosphere. The potent “Redesigned a Million Times” recycles the simple, catchy lyrics of its title over bouncy riffs and glossy electronics, and it succeeds because it sticks around long enough to make more than just a fleeting impression. The vocal hook is shouted with gusto and in unison, and it’s not hard to imagine it being a mainstay on setlists throughout the country. Often times however, the songs don’t make it past the 3 minute mark and they suffer as a consequence. There are culprits aplenty and the formula is a simple one; punchy instrumentals fly out of the traps consisting of bright, jaunty riffs, and they’re quickly joined by ethereal vocals or group chanting, neither of which improve nor offend. You’d be hard pushed to call any of the sub 3 minute tracks here poor because the skill used to create them is obvious, the problem is that practically none of them impose themselves enough to be remembered for long afterwards.

It’s no surprise then that the album’s highlights arrive when the band chooses to take their foot off the gas a little. Album closer “Tryer, You” contains much of the same sparkle and zest as its peers, but it takes its time to make its point and feels much more confident in its skin as a result. Album highlight “A Beacon, A Compass, An Anchor” buys into the same ethos; it’s in no hurry to find its stride, and the softly strummed chords which open the song come as a welcome reprieve to the mayhem in the songs surrounding it. Furthermore, title track “Heirs” teases you with what sounds like an outro at the 6 minute mark, only to pick up steam again and drive the song to a fulfilling conclusion.

The meshing of math and post rock is a careful balancing act which few have perfected. By reeling in their post rock tendencies and adding ever more vocals, ASIWYFA find themselves in a musical no man’s land. Too far from the safety of where they’re most comfortable, but only really dipping one toe into the catchy math rock which they’re trying to emulate. There are more than a few signs that the band will find the middle ground between the music that prospers live and the music that shines on record; Heirs is a frustrating reminder that they’re not there yet.




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user ratings (145)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Daniel Davis EMERITUS (4)
Post-rock for the ADD crowd....


Comments:Add a Comment 
VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
May 10th 2015


1367 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Been a crazy couple of weeks. Anything dodgy let me know.

LunaticSoul
May 10th 2015


975 Comments


Cool rev, sort of agree although I haven't listened much to it, just half of the songs

Toondude10
May 10th 2015


11404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I only listened to a couple of tracks and they were boring as shit. I'm probably going to check this out just because the artwork is cool but I doubt this will really do anything for me.

Digging: August Burns Red - Phantom Anthem

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2015


2413 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've only listened to one album by this band, "All Hail Bright Futures", and found it a very engaging listen. Needless to say, I'm intrigued enough to check this latest record out along with their other albums.

Digging: The Black Dahlia Murder - Nightbringers

Rawmeeth38
May 10th 2015


1146 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A few really good songs but pretty boring overall

aircycle
May 10th 2015


1103 Comments


pretty much agree except the first paragraph fits the last album way more

there are like 3 songs here that are super up beat

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2015


6282 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

band has never been my jam but this was pretty tedious for me especially.

fatherjakepatho
May 10th 2015


5 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Loving the shit out of this, don't think it's boring at all





Calc
Contributing Reviewer
May 10th 2015


15747 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i completely disagree but that first paragraph is fantastic

paradox1216
Emeritus
May 10th 2015


730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fantastic review. Obviously I disagree with certain points but it was so well written that I couldn't help but see with perfect clarity every point you were making. just wonderful



People call this band "too happy" a lot, and I don't really get that. I think its just as balanced as anything else for the most part, though it is happy sounding. I guess it's just purely a taste thing at that point

durkl
May 10th 2015


2 Comments


I saw this band live last thursday. The guy stuck at eleven is a pretty accurate description of one of their guitarists

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
May 10th 2015


1367 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Appreciate the kind words.



@daniel - I agree that calling them 'too happy' is inaccurate. Too excitable I think sums them up, because there was more restraint in their early work and I enjoyed it much more. I can see how this could be really enjoyable though.

Toondude10
May 10th 2015


11404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah the shorter songs are the most interesting ones one here, and they're pretty good too. But the longer tracks really drag this album out and it just ends up being pretty meh.



Good review btw.

ZippaThaRippa
May 10th 2015


10210 Comments


Missed a golden opportunity to say "Neither Heir nor there"

PotsyTater
May 10th 2015


1559 Comments


honestly think im done even bothering with this band

protonjon
May 11th 2015


110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. They were great at ATG!

I'm slowing falling for Heirs. They don't get enough credit for their progression. I think the musical no-man's land comment is a bit harsh.

Jade
Emeritus
May 11th 2015


10698 Comments


Yeah I'm honestly feeling like this is one of their best

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
May 11th 2015


1367 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's better than their last album.

Toondude10
May 11th 2015


11404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Their debut is supposed to be pretty good. I might check that one out.

Rail
May 11th 2015


565 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Band has been going downhill since Tony left.



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