And So I Watch You From Afar: Heirs

Disappointing fourth effort from math-prog mainstays.

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Despite the critical praise heaped on 2013’s All Hail Bright Futures, some critics suggested it lacked focus; that it was bright and goofy without any deep, serious moods.

If that one was sweet, then this one’s sickly. Listening to Heirs’ opening tracks Run Home and These Secret Kings I Know, it’s hard to not be swept up in the Belfast band’s sheer exuberance. Doubling down on the gang vocals of All Hail, And So I Watch You From Afar have increased the pace of the guitars while simplifying them, a process they described in one interview as “wasping”. This refers to Wasps, a song which cycles from a repetitive and frenetic riff to expansive octave chord figures and back without fully developing its ideas. The band might see this paring down as a positive, but it is in fact the core problem with Heirs. That said, it does still have some great tracks – the stomping People Not Sleeping and the swaggering title track, a breathless post-rock anthem that stands tall beside The Voiceless from their debut. For some, And So I Watch You From Afar can do no wrong. They’re still certainly one of the best bands on the live circuit, but there’s no getting around the fact that Heirs is a disappointment.