By: Lance Turner
We Stood Like Kings | website | facebook | bandcamp |
DISCLAIMER – I have not seen, nor listened to this album accompanying the silent movie by Dziga Vertov “A Sixth Part Of The World’, for which it scored.
Masterpiece, incredible, consuming, tumultuous, visceral, and inspiring are just some of the words I would use to describe USSR 1926 upon my first listen.
My exposure to We Stood As Kings previously encompassed only one track from their last album. I listened and immediately felt a strange feeling of fear. Not fear of their power as musicians, but an uplifting fear because I knew I would immediately fall in love, and my wallet in turn would inevitably suffer. I was childish in my actions of then refusing to listen to the rest of Berlin 1927. I now count that as one of my life’s biggest regrets. As I was only depriving myself of some of the most empowering music I have ever heard. That fear is crippling for those of us who cannot afford to spend every available cent on music. No matter how much our soul cries out for more. That fear was fully realized once I listened to USSR 1926.
For me, this release stands completely on it’s own, regardless of We Stood As Kings’ intention for scoring a silent movie. How many times can we cite music as taking us on a journey away from reality as we know it? Well, I cannot count how often, while writing this review, that I found myself lost in the composition and having to rededicate my focus onto manifesting my thoughts. Their arrangements force you to completely immerse yourself within each measure. So much that I would compare this album to the glory days of Pink Floyd in that it can change dynamics in an instant without losing the listener. It begs to be enshrined, vacuum sealed, cherished, and studied for the remainder of time as we know it. So that all future generations may know what is possible when we as humans can “plug” our hearts in and make music. What has come about from We Stood Like Kings has embedded itself within me as what Post Rock was, is, should be, and is bound to become. All future instrumental music will be forever changed as a result. All genres as a whole should take note. I am astonished at their ability to make the piano play so many different roles without succumbing to redundancy. Foundation melody, lead hook, and background ambience. I hear a careful dichotomy of opposing melody and symbiotic harmony.
As I sit to write this review there is incessant tribulation surrounding my day to day life. But this album makes it all better, and has an abnormal ability to transport me back to my proverbial happy place. We are all obliged to listen to see as each track changes in order to better comprehend the story emitted by the end of every timestamp. While being mixed and arranged as a movie score, with each track blending seamlessly into the next, it can also be listened to separately. Go ahead, press shuffle. I dare you!!!
Do I dare call this release a masterpiece? Without hesitation, I answer with a resounding YES!!! It now holds a very close place in my heart. With feeling and emotion that I would equate to the releases of Glories – Put The Beast Out Of Mind, Athletics – Who You Are Is Not Enough, or pg.lost – In, Never Out. This is one hell of a complete album. Engaging all facets of the human condition, and encompassing all perceptions of what can be considered the complete spectrum of human emotion. I leave those emotions up to the interpretation of each listener, as the receipt of music to all of our ears/hearts is subjective by nature. But I do warn you. After listening, the state of your mind and being will never be the same.
We Stood Like Kings have outdone themselves. How they have been able to produce such an extraordinary opus is beyond me. I am only thankful that I have been granted the opportunity to hear it.