Album Review: Caspian - 'Dust and Disquiet'.
Ah, post-rock. A genre that, to these ears at least, has produced some of the most hauntingly beautiful guitar music known to mankind (probably) and to which the term ‘epic’ seems absolutely synonymous. However, there’s an argument to be had that post-rock is becoming somewhat a victim of its own success, with the sheer myriad of bands now existing that can adeptly navigate their way around an instrumental crescendo or two. This begs the question of how acts can stand out in an increasingly packed genre, or attempt to bring something new to the table, without simply being compared to the usual scene flag-bearers (Sigur et al).
Respected post-rock stalwarts Caspian’s recently-released fourth album ‘Dust and Disquiet’ is shaped by the band having overcoming personal tragedy, lending a reflective tone to the tracks on offer. 'Separation No. 2' starts things off in a restrained manner, a lovely picked guitar sequence underpinning a simple melody, with strings and brass adding to the melancholy. Indeed the track drifts rather seamlessly into ‘Rioseco’, the first half of which could exist as the soundtrack to your favourite art house movie, building up exquisitely before a driving guitar line and powerful drumming takes things on a more aggressive line. This shift in dynamics hints at some of the volume to come on the album, with the following tracks transforming the ambience to a more confident and forceful direction.
Next up, the stunning ‘Arcs of Command’ grabs the listener immediately with a genuinely thrilling introduction, before building to an instantly memorable three chord motif. The track continues to excite, transforming into an utter tour de force of monstrous guitar, drumming and, at times, pure noise… it’s simply superb.
‘Echo and Abyss’ brings some vocals to the mix while keeping the foot firmly on the distortion pedal, if anything increasing the intensity on display.
Just when you’re wondering if this now-relentless wall of sound can continue, the acoustic passage of ‘Run Dry’ brings things down several notches, with some mournful vocals adding to the shift in tempo. ‘Equal Night’ provides a nice ambient interlude, before ’Sad Heart of Mine’ offers something akin to more standard post-rock affair, all twinkling notes and repetition providing a backdrop to an effective crescendo. Such description is not however meant to act as a disservice to what is a lovely track, again underlining a band at the top of their game.
‘Darkfield’ kicks off with another of those exciting intros, this time crafted by some tribal-type drumming, with the band entering more experimental territory with guitar soloing over distorted, jagged patterns, before an almost hymnal ending abruptly closes the track. While certainly adding a different flavour to the album, it serves to highlight the almost effortless creativity on offer. ‘Aeternum Vale’ brings back the acoustic guitar for a brief atonal jam, before epic (sorry, couldn’t resist) album closer, ‘Dust and Disquiet’ provides one of those spell-binding post-rock segments, towards the end of the near ten-minutes, where you just sit back and think ‘how did they bring this all together and form it so majestically’.
Overall, the album is hugely impressive, pleasingly varied, highly enjoyable and one that deserves to see the band’s status significantly elevated. Proof that post-rock can continue to surprise, and a worthy candidate for album-of-the-year polls for sure.
Words of DS_convertible.
'Dust and Disquiet 'is available for purchase via iTunes, Spotify,Bandcamp, Amazon.com, your local independent record store and anywhere else you get your music.
Stream the album:
Nov 06 Brudnell Social Club Leeds, United Kingdom
Nov 07 Green Door Store Brighton, United Kingdom
Nov 08 Divan Du Monde Paris, France
Nov 09 Minard Ghent, Belgium
Nov 10 Hafenklang Hamburg, Germany .
Nov 11 Lido Berlin, Germany
Nov 12 Beatpol Dresden, Germany
Nov 13 Vila Stvanice Praha, Czech Republic
Nov 14 Progresja Warszawa, Poland
Nov 15 Viper Room Wien, Austria
Nov 16 Kassablanca Jena, Germany
Nov 17 Juha West Stuttgart, Germany
Nov 18 L'Usine Geneva, Switzerland
Nov 19 ISC Berne, Switzerland
Nov 20 Lo Fi Milan, Italy.
Nov 21 Teatro Schio, Italy
Nov 22 Live Stage Innsbruck, Austria .
Nov 23 Underground Koln, Germany
Nov 24 Rockhal Esch Sur Alzette,Luxembourg
Dec 11 Toad's Place New Haven, CT