There has long been a tussle in this journalist’s mind about who were the best of the plethora of brilliant post-rock bands out there, and the final fight centres on three countries. Representing Canada, and the excellent Constellation label, there’s Do Make Say Think and Godspeed You! Black Emperor (albeit their current hiatus), for the UK Glasgow’s finest, Mogwai, step up to the plate and finally, weighing in for the US are Explosions In The Sky.
The question of who is best in the end though becomes irrelevant, especially as the majority of these bands appear to be peaking at the same time, leaving fans like myself foaming at the mouth with an overload of listening pleasure. Well, maybe that’s overdoing it a bit, but let’s just say it’s been a good couple of weeks for new music.
Not only has the new album by Montreal’s DMST just hit the shelves but now it’s joined by the spectacular latest release from Texan four-piece EITS, entitled All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone. And IMHO it’s ASE (another sweeping epic).
The band have enjoyed what could be said to be a bit of a meteoric rise in popularity since their last release, 2003’s The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, with their date at London’s KOKO (not an abbreviation!) in March selling out within two weeks of going on sale.
It serves as quite an achievement considering the lack of promotion the band have received but goes to prove that good old-fashioned word of mouth is still alive and well. EITS have since added dates at another London venue, The Astoria, as well as gigs in Glasgow and Manchester in April before playing the much-anticipated special ‘fan’s choice’ All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Somerset this May.
But what of their new album I hear you cry? Well, in many ways it follows the same tried and trusted formula of their previous three albums – dramatic, emotive and melodic, with guitars very much the centre of attention. Yet this time around the band have progressed to produce a more varied collection of tracks.
Opening cut The Birth And Death Of The Day rolls along like an ocean from the grumbling guitars at the beginning, calm one moment and crashing against the walls the next in a quiet-loud-quiet format made most famous by Mogwai.
Welcome, Ghosts is notable for it’s driving drums while It’s Natural To Be Afraid – the only ten-plus minute track on the album – presents, for the first time on an EITS release, the introduction of piano into the mix, broadening the band’s instrumental palette to paint an eerie and haunting picture.
Shimmering piano also eases the listener into What Do You Go Home To. This reviewer’s personal favourite, its haunting outlook and wavery guitars provide the soundtrack for a summer evening by the lake with the sun low in the sky and reflected in the water. The gorgeous So Long, Lonesome, that concludes the album also offers a glimpse into the band’s softer side.
Serving as a complete contrast, sandwiching those two numbers Catastrophe And The Cure is a pure multi-guitar assault to obliterate the serenity of what has come and what will follow. Naturally there are peaks and troughs to disperse the mayhem on the way but if you had to describe the typical EITS, or indeed post-rock full stop, track then this wouldn’t be a bad choice. And as for this album, well opting to buy yourself a copy could be one of the best choices you make in 2007.