Review Summary: All is beautiful, indeed
Can purely instrumental post-rock be political? Absolutely - just check out any Godspeed You! Black Emperor record. However, no one ever said it's an easy
feat to accomplish. Crafting an atmosphere capable of inspiring change - whether it's via one individual or on a much broader scale - requires the artist to move
the listener through music alone. On Hurry Up, Brothers' debut record, All is Beautiful. I'm Okay to be Alive. I'm Okay to Die.
, their aim is clearly to elicit such a reaction. One look at the artwork, which features protesters marching with a banner that reads "we won't fight any rich man's war", gives away any possible subtlety surrounding their motives. Thus, the question becomes less about whether or not listeners will spontaneously become politically motivated by the album, it's about if All is Beautiful. I'm Okay to be Alive. I'm Okay to Die.
does enough to live up to its lofty ambitions and galvanizing imagery.
Your answer to that question may depend on how you view the overlap between personal and political. The instrumental tones here are light and graceful, resulting in an uplifting sensation that is more life-affirming than it is buried in political turmoil. It feels like the soundtrack to arriving on shore after weeks spent battling mother nature's wrath on the open sea; how that metaphor could be applied to any of us in 2021 is all too easy to imagine. The overarching atmosphere - admittedly comprised of your typical post-rock ingredients ranging from tremolo picking to avalanching drums/breathtaking crescendos - is one of triumphing over adversity. Across most of the album's runtime, we're treated to these picturesque, spine-tingling sensory immersions that aren't inherently political, but feel right at home as we begin to shed our masks while witnessing glimmers of light emanating from what we can only hope is the end of a worldwide pandemic.
See how easy it is to conflate the personal and political? Spirited and optimistic post-rock does not automatically equate to overcoming a pandemic, yet it's all too easy to connect those dots. Honestly, this might be the best kind of "political" record because it doesn't preach, it inspires. All is Beautiful. I'm Okay to be Alive. I'm Okay to Die.
could be about humanity overcoming COVID-19, or it could be about a nation moving on from one of its most controversial and divisive leaders, or it could be about none of that at all - just someone laying on the grass, staring up at the sky, and taking in the beauty of the whole universe. So, sure - All is Beautiful. I'm Okay to be Alive. I'm Okay to Die.
is a political record. As it would turn out, it's also so much more.