Reviews Column 54: Post-Rock

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The biggest piece of news in post-rock is the first line-up announcement for 2015’s ArcTanGent Festival. Revealed so far are Dillinger Escape Plan, 65daysofstatic, Rolo Tomassi, British Theatre, Vennart, The Algorithm, Trojan Horse, Cleft and Alpha Male Tea Party. All these are Prog-approved acts running the gamut from post-rock to electronic math-metal, so the August event is shaping up nicely.

On the release front, one highlight comes from Le Mans, France, in the form of Quadrupède’s stunning self-released album TOGOBAN. Sonically, this acrobatic two-piece are closest to the chiming-one-second, roaring-the-next technical riffs and frenetic electronics of Three Trapped Tigers. They create an awe-inspiring racket, cut through with deft, dynamic control of atmospherics. For a taster trip, try the album high-water mark, ÅSTRØ.

Closer to home, Alright The Captain continue the theme of vaguely jazzy math-rock with their self-assured second self-releaser. Contact Fix stays just the tasteful side of noodle: investigate single Ben & Barbara for a menacing and synth-heavy introduction.

Brighton’s Polymath, meanwhile, follow their superb single La Unión De Roku & Demipenteract with Reptiles, an exuberant and deliciously riff-heavy EP in the vein of The Mars Volta’s latter-day work.

Spanish post-rockers Catorce recently crowd-funded a release of their album Atlas on wax, and it’s well worth a listen. Their emphatic and ethereal post-metal ducks and weaves from soundscape to brutal post-hardcore attack seemingly at the drop of a hat. Opener Iconoclasta is a typical and righteous example, intense yet never losing a sense of melodic purpose. Rarely is such an undeniably great record released, and as it’s available for pay-what-you-like download, there’s really no reason not to check it out.

Flipping back to last year, there are two releases that are still worth catching up on. The self-titled debut from All The Best Tapes shows them to be like Dillinger Escape Plan, if that band bought reverb pedals and drank too many sugary drinks before hitting the studio. It’s frantic, fun, confusing and excellent stuff. Try capricious, kitchen-sink single I’ve Been Bored Since 911. Flights’ History Be Kind (Scylla), meanwhile, is an altogether more serious beast. An uncharitable reviewer might say that at times it’s a little too earnest, but for the most part, as on Empire Gone or The Ghost Of Things, they come achingly close to channelling the majesty and drama of post-rock greats Oceansize and the angular guitars of Yourcodenameis:milo, their main influences.

You may well also have missed Chronopoly (Subsuburban) by Danish band Town Portal. On first listen, it’s a thoroughly no-nonsense and unsubtle beast, but repeat listens reveal depth that the pounding-yet-intricate Soundgarden-esque riffs initially conceal. The mix of the record is taut, in a word; the kick drum sits high in the mix like on the Secret Machines’ classic first two albums, and the effect when bass guitar and kick sync is breathtakingly monolithic.