…and so we destroyed everything will be old news to some; Aussie post-rock quartet sleepmakeswaves originally released it in their homeland a full two years ago. Since then, their attack beyond Australia’s borders has been slow, but they’ve been helped considerably by online word-of-mouth. An endorsement from 65daysofstatic, who like them enough to ask if they would open for them on tour, is also a fairly big boost to their reputation.
On paper it’s not surprising then that Monotreme, original home of 65daysofstatic, will finally be giving this album (plus its remix EP, …and we remixed everything) a proper UK release. It’s easy to see why the label signed them up – this is an outfit that seems like they’re continually experimenting with their sound and consistently figuring out what makes up their aesthetic. They throw plenty of ideas at the listener and, as you’d expect, some of them work and some of them don’t. What is impressive though is that a) it’s never dull and b) it hits a lot more than it misses.
Dynamics wise, it’s a rollercoaster ride. Short pieces that rely on ambience and atmosphere (We Like You When You’re Awkward) are followed by thundering epics that rattle on for 10 minutes or more (And We Destroyed Everything). The longer pieces are wide-ranging in sonics and highly ambitious. A Gaze Blank And Pitiless As The Sun is ominous and with thundering tom drums and chiming, dramatic guitars before giving way to a finale laden with soothing strings. The title track, which closes the album, starts off with sombre piano before bursting into life with bright guitars, then reaching for the distortion pedals, playing with synthesisers and glitchy electronics before gently simmering down. Both of these are thrilling.
Away from these two juggernauts, there’s a lot to like among the record’s most concise moments. In Limbs And Troughs builds and builds to a towering crescendo and the wiry electronica-based textures Our Time Is Short But Your Watch Is Slow are captivating. On the sunnier side, (Hello) Cloud Mountain fizzes with vibrancy as it twinkles and glimmers – it’s a neat contrast to the crunchier, heavier material.
In terms of how they fit in the spectrum of post-rock, they’re difficult to place, which is a very good thing. Their constant experimentation is worthwhile as more layers are revealed on repeat listens. This is a difficult beast that sometimes feels a bit all over the place but those who manage to connect with it will find plenty to enjoy. It’s just about worth the two years of waiting. Hopefully the wait for a follow-up won’t be anywhere near as long.