Gentle melodies evolving into pounding crescendos are becoming ostensibly linked to the genre of post rock. The blueprints are simple: settle on an inviting chord progression, and increase its profundity over the duration of the song. As a motif, dare I say it, its becoming a tad blunt and unconvincing.
There has been, however, some very interesting developments in Australia, far removed from the Tortoise-shelled US, or the Mogwai-cum-gremlins of the UK or… Iceland. Whilst the Australian scene, as a whole, is somewhat drought-stricken, it is effectively lead by a small handful of bands that have been doing it for many years: sleepmakeswaves, Solkyri and Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving. Here, we focus on the latest material of the latter.
Downbeat, the newest EP from Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving, is an atmospheric rock opera in two parts: ‘Downbeat’ and ‘Demise’. Both clocking in at around 20 minutes, the two tracks serve as a dark journey, where events are either hazardous and terrifying, or ominous and foreboding. ‘Downbeat’ opens with a menacing and highly distorted piano progression, slowly unravelling a cacophonous frenzy. The bass tone is brooding and sinister, and guitar feedback rings out across the piece, the tension is ever present. As the track cools, the faint whisper of lush melodies are quickly distorted through atmospheric drones, high distorted guitar feedback and rattling percussion. Beautiful passages are constructed and deconstructed. Downbeat curtails slightly with ‘Demise’ a drone-rich epilogue. In a sense, ‘Demise’ serves as the aftermath of the bludgeon resulting from Downbeat; its soft but unsettling reverb calls to mind bands like Locrian and This Will Destroy You.
Musically, Downbeat probably sits between the ferocity of 2008’s Tiny Fragments and the dark poignancy of 2013’s Failed By Man And Machine. More to the point, the album reinforces that Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving are quite capable of leading the listener through a range of light and dark soundscapes, through highs and lows, through savagery and placidity. Downbeat is not the familiar ‘crescendo core’ that is progressively numbing the post-rock scene; this is complex poetry with undulating narratives, a story told through a myriad of devices.
Post rock, dark, instrumental
Sounds A Tad Like
Russian Circles, This Will Destroy You, Pelican, Locrian