Review Summary: Glorious electronic post-rock from beyond the stars
From his egg-shaped armchair aboard a cavernous spacecraft a solitary figure looks out at the new world upon which he has landed; icy, hostile and ripe for exploration. This beautiful scene by Asif Siddiky graces the front of Sanctuary
, and it’s as fitting an album cover as you are likely to find. Find some peace and quiet, close your eyes, press play and imagine yourself as this lonely space-farer – it’s quite a journey.
Infinity Shred, a three-piece from New York, have achieved a rare mastery of formula with their first long-player. All of the tracks, from sprawling opener Kodiak to the more sombre and contemplative Tourist, manage to sound distinct and indispensable despite sharing a similar palate of haunting keyboard and guitar melodies set to thundering drums and chunky 80s synthesisers – like how each planet in a solar system forges its own individual gravitational path around the same star.
The production is pristine thanks to composers Damon Hardjowirogo and George Stroud's relationship with Jonathan Baken, who helmed several of their previous releases as Starscream
. Even during Mapper, which has some of the record's most intense moments, Baken is frugal with how many layers he allows at once. The result is a luscious, soaring sonic space where the core undulating melody of each song is never buried.
Considering their hyperfuturistic sound, with its dearth of vocals and traditional rock instrumentation, it seems strange at first that Infinity Shred label themselves a “band” at all. Repeated listens, however, reveal a post-rock heart beating to the rhythms of God Is An Astronaut
beneath the arpeggiated flesh and bone of Sanctuary
. And, as is also the case with those bands, a receptive, attentive ear is required the get the most from the experience.
The back cover depicts the same metallic interior as before, this time shrouded in darkness as night falls outside. Our hero, the solo astronaut, is nowhere to be seen. I like to think of him making camp in the shadow of a nearby crater, contemplating the millions of miles he’s travelled, humming Kodiak under his breath.