India isn’t necessarily the first place you think of when it comes to grandstanding post-rock, but aswekeepsearching seem determined to fix that.
This follow-up to debut effort Khwaab finds the quartet, already established as big festival favourites at home, attempting to emulate the international crossover success of key influences Sigur Rós and God Is An Astronaut. The music is certainly big on atmosphere, particularly the textural undulations of the faintly mystic And Then Came Spring and Reminiscence. Singer/guitarist Uddipan Sarmah delivers his lyrics in Hindi, while fellow guitar player and keyboardist Shubham Gurung adds rolling clouds of becalmed noise. Tablas and sitar bring gentle exoticism to Sleep/Awake and Sometime Somewhere respectively, offset by the tensile progtronica of Hope Unfolds. It’s all agreeable enough, but too often Zia appears content to merely float along at a fairly undemanding pace, with songs like A New Solace passing by almost unnoticed. The exception is Kalga, whose restful rhythm is suddenly punctured by ringing guitar chords, before subsiding into something less destructive. This engaging contrast is hopefully a foretaste of what to expect next.