Many bands’ press releases claim that they are part of a divine rock lineage due to their wide range of musical influences (which usually include “everything from The Beach Boys to Slayer!”), but few bands actually live up to these lofty comparisons. Sennen, however, become an immediate exception to the rule, as the sounds they create on their second album certainly do a good job of paying homage to the obvious influences of post-rock gods like Mogwai.
However, the sonic maturity displayed on Where The Light Gets In indicates that Sennen have come a long way from aping Mogwai. The quartet weaves between psychedelic rock, soft balladry, and uncompromising noise rock to create a varied, enjoyable listening experience. The instruments combine in a seemingly endless aural space with a production value that’s through the roof.
It all starts off with the band’s strong lead single, Blackout, a tune that features noisy drones, pounding drums, and distorted vocal harmonies that sound like the chants of a religious rite. The cult-like elements are reinforced by a dramatic repetition of the phrase “We’ll make a sacrifice” as Interpol-like dark guitars drenched with delay and reverb puncture the track with nervous intensity.
Following, Sennen display some more refined sounds on the beautiful Everybody’s Loss and Your Hand In Mine. These tracks prove to be a wonderful respite from the noise, showcasing some gorgeous instrumentation. A simple, touching violin solo on Your Heart In Mine dances over esmerising cymbal splashes, pulsating guitars, and soft, sweetly sung vocals. More strings appear later on the album’s title track, which provides a delicate, extended instrumental outro. Sennen have without a doubt mastered opposite ends of the dynamic spectrum, from the noisiest rock to the softest ballads.
For standout track Just Wanted To Know, it’s back to the glorious noise – this time summoning the dreamy quality of My Bloody Valentine. Loveless might have been the noise-rock masterpiece that launched a thousand shoegazer bands, but Sennen have definitely picked up the torch from where Kevin Shields left off. The rousing Just Wanted To Know turns the overly distorted guitars up to 11, eventually progressing into an epic, unwieldy jam in the second half of the song.
The final three offerings on Where The Light Gets In reflect even more of the band’s influences. Sennen present a trio of longer songs that have numerous buildups and falls, resembling the epic creations of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions In The Sky. At over seven minutes long, A Lifetime Passed and Even Now both push the playing time of the album closer to the unsettling The Mars Volta end of the spectrum; but none of it feels like filler, so it’ll be up to the listeners to see how much they can handle.
Sennen have managed to bring their influences into their music in a way many other bands fail at. Rather than feeling derivative, the band reference its idols in a way that brings a refreshing blend of innovation and legacy to their creations.