Review Summary: Withdrawing post-rock from the quagmire of stagnation.
I sometimes find myself wondering if one of my favorite genres of music, post-rock, has become stagnant and wholly irrelevant. Even the giants, whose shoulders felt impossible to crumble, are playing the same rolling crescendos that they played a decade ago. Asking for innovation feels like asking a pig to fly.
In come Caspian, and there is hope again.
From the first three minutes I knew there was something different. This wasn't the same old trudge through a desert where an oasis is a distant dream, never mind a mirage. Hearing brass mingling with gentle guitar plucking on opener Separation No.2 had me surging with hope and I wasn't disappointed.
Caspian meld through their tracks in perfect order, each unique and rich in sound, while holding on to the perfect structure that causes the surging of souls. The songwriting on this album is like fine calligraphy, each stroke carefully and elegantly weaving together a whole that strikes you with its grace. Guitars blare and twine, bass flickers and drums beat; but there are other new sounds that sate weary listeners.
Production is perfectly mixed with creativity, as neither has suffered for the completeness of the other. There's no fill or frills, only intricately constructed instrumentation. Uses of vocals, seldom a popular choice in the genre, stands out in the few tracks where it is to be found. Each melody is unique; where Arcs of Command is exhilaration incarnate, Run Day is calm rain pattering on your window and the title track is the essence of the genre in 11 minutes executed flawlessly. Nothing is wasted and as much explored as can be without overwhelming.
This is probably the best thing to happen to post-rock this decade, and for those that either like to disappear in a flight of fancy or need a lift while their fingers march, Dust and Disquiet will more than gratify.
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I'm sorry but I neg'd. Not that it isn't well-written from a grammatical/linguistic perspective. Because it is well-written. But in terms of content this is like post-rock review 101.
Do you know how many times I've read a review that talks about how post-rock is stagnant and it's all the same and there's no innovation... but THIS post-rock band that the reviewer happens to like is different and is the one that breaks free of the stagnation and innovates on post-rock for once?
I've read this way too many times and for way too many years. Caspian are not special, I'm sorry to tell you. You just happen to connect with their music by chance. Just like how I happen to connect to post-rock band X by chance. And there's so much innovative music out there that takes rock in atypical and progressive directions that the only reason to criticise post-rock for being stagnant is if you choose to draw the genre's boundary around the bands who you think are stagnant. Genre definitions are just some arbitrary, assignment; it's semantic. I could take all bands that play I V IV vi progressions, call the genre 1546, and then claim that 1546 is a stagnant genre. It's kind of a meaningless thing to comment on in my opinion. If you restrict the genre to only be associated with bands that play in a specific way, then of course the genre is going to be stagnant becuase you've defined it as such. For no other genre do people focus so heavily on the label. Most reviews of albums take the band/album as an entity and judge them based on their music. Post-rock is such a unique genre in that it is always scrutinised under a microscope. People care so much about what is and isn't post-rock, and whether the genre is or isn't stagnant. Is it because there are so many bands in the genre, and the lack of a singer gives them less identity? Maybe. But still, what's more stagnant than post-rock are reviews that state post-rock is stagnant. 99% of the people who say "post-rock is stagnant but this band is different" are talking about bands that, actually, are pretty typical of the genre... a lot of the genre is about personal connection, and this is something that is too subjective to be able to make objective statements about X band being outside of the venn diagram of stagnancy.
Post-rock is not stagnant.
Sorry for the rant. Your review was well-written and I regret negging it, because it didn't deserve a neg, really, I'm just prejudice against reviews like this. My apologies. I hope you write more reviews because you do write well, even if I 100% disagree with the content of this particular review.
Edit: Oh, funnily enough, if you read the one other review for this album on this site, you will see evidence of exactly what I am talking about.
Album Rating: 4.5
Thank you very much for your opinion of my review. While I am sad to see that you gave it a neg, I understand your reasons for doing so and appreciate your thoughts on the subject.
Whether it be my lack of exposure to recent post-rock trends that feel positive, or just other new releases not feeling that ambitious and creative to me; these were my thoughts on the subject.
I will however, continue to write reviews and post them on the site. I always appreciate criticism, be it negative or positive, as long as it moves to improve the next review I write.
As I said, I regret the impulse that I had to neg your review based on my own bias against reviews like this, as your review was well-written. Good luck and please continue to write and develop your skill.
Album Rating: 4.5
Pos'd, because while the approach to this review is overdone and I agree with many of the criticisms Minty already voiced, yours is well-written. Maybe a little on the short side, but nothing a little honing can't fix over time. And for a first review, this is a great place to start from. Keep at it, man!
Album Rating: 3.5
"I sometimes find myself wondering if one of my favorite genres of music, post-rock, has become stagnant and wholly irrelevant"
i think it's quite well established that this is the most unwanted way possible to start a post-rock review
Get rid of the platitudes and overdone clichés and this is a very good review. Now it is still a good review, you explain how the music sounds and differs from other bands well. Pos
I like the calligraphy simile.
Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off
If one more bloody person says post rock and stagnant in the same sentence I'm think I'm going to sigh so hard my lungs cave in
Yeah I'm sick of it. People have said "post-rock is stagnant but THIS band is different - 5/5" in reference to pretty much every post-rock album released in the last 7 years. You see people hailing "latest post-rock gem" as being "a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dead genre" way, waaaay more than you see people saying "this is another lame album in the dead genre of post-rock". If every album over like a 7 year period is credited, time and time again, for pushing the boundaries of an "otherwise dead genre", then how the hell is it dead, and how the hell do people not see the contradiction? The numbers just don't add up.
Can we have a PSA on this naive and frankly wrong assertion about post-rock so that people stop saying it? Probably my most-typed comment on this site is "can we stop saying post-rock is stagnant and then claiming album X is somehow different?" How many album Xs have to be released before people stop saying this?