Vessels aggressively embraced electronics on their last record, 2011’s storming Helioscope.
Even so, their set at last year’s ArcTanGent festival was a shock to long-time fans: with only a single guitar on stage, they played a lush set of minimalist techno cut through with post-rock dynamics. Clearly a work in progress, these explorations are now fully realised on their new album, which marks a stunning and progressive new direction for the band. On cuts like Vertical and Elliptic, it’s nigh-on danceable, making mathy outliers like Echo In and closer On Your Own Ten Toes a particular delight. Attica boasts a kinetic, motorik attitude paired with lush electronic prog-pop akin to that of North Atlantic Oscillation, while Echo In has something of Massive Attack’s criminally underrated post-rock-inspired trip hop album 100th Window about it. Like prog itself, post-rock has always had a somewhat uneasy symbiotic relationship with electronic music. Vessels’ bold new album once again blurs the line between the two, and poses the question of where post-rock with electronic instruments is most at home: in sweaty back-rooms, or in clubs.