Here’s a review I wrote last night for the forthcoming fanzine from the FATP stable….
Explosions In The Sky,
All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, Bella Union
Every so often, in fact quite a lot, songs come into your life and they just take over…You can usually tell before they are finished that your life is never going to be the same afterwards…I have a half finished theory that it is all to do with the frequencies in the music resonating with the electrical charges in your body, but that’s one for discussion a few Cobras down the line…and I do mean the lager before anyone calls the Squamata Helpline.
Such a song was First Breath After Coma by this mob of Texans…it lifted me off my feet, cleaned out the back of my brain and then gently settled me back into a comfy chair to soothe me with offers of warm tea and biscuits, before the track that followed it did exactly the same thing but without the biscuits and for longer.
Well, it has been a long time since they released that album, and have scrapped loads of material to get to All of A Sudden, and suffice to say the first track on here does all the same things to me as First Breath did…It starts of with a squall of guitars and what sounds like a bagpipe effects pedal…(no need to mention Big Country here though, just put it out of your mind), before the drums start mimicking heartbeats and the melodies start getting picked out, and the one thing that has remained constant amid all the talk of post-rock dissonance and the like is that these boys always return to a melody no matter where else they take you…this is why I think Mogwai comparisons are like red herrings to a bull, just plain wrong and mixed up.
You get 4 minutes to acclimatise yourself before things pick up and we are off on some sort of glorious romp to the finish line…martial style drums as per usual and what I can only describe as call and response shimmying from the three (count ‘em) guitars.
The biggest change that they appear to have made is that while they have found more space to spread out musically, they have also learnt to keep things concise when needed. Why three tracks even come in at under 6 minutes, with one of them being under 4…positively unheard of in post rock circles. However this is all counterbalanced by the albums centrepiece, It’s Natural To Be Afraid…clocking in at a weighty 13 minutes…It all begins eerie and like a musical expression of what I imagine cold sweat to sound like (but in a good way), but with eight minutes to go the good guys turn up to reassure you that everything is going to be OK, and with about 4 minutes to go it feels like they have taken you away from your cold sweat and you’re running at the speed old Clarke Kent did when he outraced the train at the beginning of Superman.
The highlight of this album, for me, has to be the Catastrophe And The Cure…You enter what can only be described as choppy waters, with guitars and drums like a storm lashing your little rowing boat on the high seas…but panic not…once again EITS to the rescue as calm descends? and you think you are washing up on a beautiful island or just floating in the calm with dolphins jumping around you…But wait, you’ve not had the Cure, and this is where things start to get choppy again, but you’re ready for it…and it’s not choppy really, it’s more like the wind has got up and you are gaining speed to get to the beautiful island….
With previous albums this sprint to the finish would have been the end of it, but this album comes with what feels like a reprise in the form of So Long, Lonesome….a beautiful bit of piano tinkling that never feels like an anti-climax…it’s almost like the waves lapping at your feet as you ignore another rescue boat going by.
Not a bad way to spend 43 minutes, with or without Cobras, biscuits or tea.”