Better Part of Vice by Often the ThinkerRelease date: December 5, 2016
Generally when I think of the post-rock genre, the first impressions that come to mind are bands creating either loud noisy tracks that build up toward explosive crescendos, or bands that create these long murky introspective tracks that illicit melancholy emotions. Sometimes, one forgets just how varied the post-rock genre can be at times, and it takes a band like Often The Thinker to come along and show that there are other ways of doing it! On the bands’ latest album Better Part of Vice, we’re presented with a wonderfully infectious slab of highly creative and joy-inducing post-rock, one that invokes the many sentiments and aesthetics of bands like Do Make Say Think, or the jollier side of Mogwai (you may need to remind yourself that they do have one at times!)
As Better Part of Vice begins, we know we’re in for something quite special here. Across the whole board, we’re presented with an instrumental post-rock album that manages to express strong feelings of joy and elation, something that doesn’t simply fall upon that murky miserable sounding aesthetic so commonly seen. At times, the tracks can’t help but put a smile on your face, enveloping you in a warm feeling of comfort and enjoyment. Even when it feels as though the tone is taking a slight shift, the result is still something that feels incredibly warm and lovely. The many ideas expressed on the album all come together in such perfect harmony, creating a cohesive vision that jumps from track to track with an effortless ease, still managing to express those emotions and never once losing steam.
Comparisons to the work of Do Make Say Think are certainly apt here, mostly in how both bands manage to express such emotion in their own branches of post-rock music. What makes Often The Thinker’s branch of music work so well is how everything on the album just manages to feel so incredibly fresh. One listens to the album and feels as though they’re listening to something different, something new. Whilst the aesthetic of previous bands remain, the content itself is ultimately their own, giving them their own spark that helps separate them in an ever growing genre. It’s all wonderfully infectious and keeps making you return many times!
It’s incredibly refreshing to hear bands expressing this side of post-rock music. It helps to showcase just how versatile the genre can actually be, and that bands/artists don’t need to pigeonhole themselves into the grimy loud noisy branch of post-rock that feels so common. Better Part of Vice comes across as an album that exudes creativity and fresh ideas, one that feels densely layered, without being bloated with unnecessary elements. Everything just works so well, and in a way that makes one simply feel good and full of warmth. This is definitely a side of post-rock we should be seeing more, and thank goodness we have bands like Often the Thinker not only doing it, but doing it so well. This is definitely without a doubt one to keep your eye on.