This record sounds a lot like Explosions in the Sky. I rarely make this direct comparison because most times when I read it I think it’s the wrong one to make. Not all post-rock bands sound like Explosions, Mogwai, Godspeed and Sigur Ros, and those bands don’t actually sound the same as each other despite what we read so often. This is one of those times, though, that I can’t get away from stating it even after a dozen or more spins. That doesn’t mean it’s fundamentally bad, but it does mean the pressure is on this five-piece instrumental band from Eugene, Oregon.
The first couple of tracks throw in some vocals, though it’s not lyrical singing, and in that way they gain a little individuality, but that soon drops back into some pretty standard crescendocore, tremolo and noodling with little variation in speed. It’s all played perfectly well but it lacks in its composition, melody, intensity, depth of sound and variation. Which I suppose when I read it back is a fair bit.
If you like post-rock you will enjoy it, yes, but will you punch the air at the climax, will it lift your soul to the edge of space, will you feel goosebumps in the slow moments? I didn’t, and that’s what I want most of all from my post-rock, regardless of the mechanics of the songs. Play this up against Whale Fall, The End of the Ocean, When Clouds Collide and Shy, Low and you’ll see what I mean.
I know This Patch of Sky will have a core following of fans who are deeply touched by this music. Throw in the fact that these guys love playing it and that’s what really counts, but EITS stopped being the benchmark a while ago and I think these guys can do better. When you’re competing for listening time with schoolkids who are making more exciting, experimental and progressive crescendocore in their bedrooms, you need to better find the uniqueness within you.
Newly Risen, How Brightly You Shine is out now on Bandcamp.
Posted by Gilbert Potts.