Review Summary: horripilation, indeed
Revisiting Stubborn Persistent Illusions
, I am out of breath; because War on Torpor
may well be the most aptly titled opening track to ever exist. Every speck of dust floating in the background of this song fights back against my early morning lethargy as if kinetic energy is its mission statement. I listen to the frenetic jazz drumming and the tremolo picking that surges like a strong wind, I put down my coffee, pull up the blinds, and say good morning
After fifteen minutes exploring this record, I decided it's easily the most free-spirited and dynamic release of twenty-seventeen thus far. Horripilation
has instruments coming and going at will, sweeping in and out of your field of perception for an exhilarating ten minutes as layer upon layer of ambient textures unfold underneath. As a general rule, the record eschews the conventions of post-rock and forgoes the ever-unfolding crescendo. Songs explode like stars arbitrarily then fizzle out like sparklers (Bound
), or – conversely – propel themselves forward with wide-eyed abandon (And Boundless
). Really, this is post-rock made by people who wish to stop post-rock from sleepwalking to its bitter end.
Striking an important balance, Stubborn Persistent Illusions
creates a through-line that belies its far-reaching structural and instrumental dynamics. With eyes closed and reality ignored, the record creates a world, and then reacts accordingly as an unidentified protagonist passes through it. In Her Eyes on the Horizon
, the horns squelch and the drums plod along tentatively as our proxy struggles with an obstacle. Then, about half way through, delirious cymbals and fleet-footed chord progressions climb up the walls, heralding a breakthrough in his/her quest. There is beauty here, and it lies in the notion that the story this record tells is completely dependent on the listener’s imagination. Good post-rock is a collaborative effort, and Do Make Say Think write and perform their sprawling rock symphonies for you to flesh out the minutiae, the characters, the peaks and troughs.
The final cut, Return, Return Again
informs this record as an optimistic ride in a decidedly And So I Watch You From Afar
fashion. The guitars cascade and swing upwards as the composition breaks through the clouds. Consolidating this brightness, the track’s production works similarly to the rest of the album. Across …Illusions
, production mimics the way light reflects off clear water. It is colourful and glistening – the high-end perpetually shines with a coruscating edge and the bass rings out across the bottom. These sounds complement each other beautifully, dramatizing and romanticising your morning in equal measure.
I don’t believe many records are indelible. Albums fade in response to other, more relevant albums. People grow out of the music they used to love like they do old clothes. I think, though, that Stubborn Persistent Illusions
will follow me around. It feels like a piece of music that is intrinsically linked with the world around me, injecting life into life and inspiring progression where regression seems inevitable. For that, I welcome the illusion, no matter how stubborn or persistent it may be.