Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Album: And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs

Band: And So I Watch You From Afar
Album: Gangs
Label: The Richter Collective
Year: 2011

02. Gang (Starting Never Stopping)
03. Search:Party:Animal
04. 7 Billion People All Alive At Once
05. Think:Breathe:Destroy
06. Homes - Ghost Parlor KA -6 To...
07. Homes - ...Samara To Belfast
08. Lifeproof

When the curiously monikered And So I Watch You From Afar dropped their debut record on an unsuspecting rock world they more than blew the doors off the poor little Mini Cooper, they blew it to kingdom come...and then some. You see what this band did with their self-titled debut was to release a post-rock album that was a hardcore punk album at the same time. Tracks like the blistering 'Set Guitars to kill' saw post-rock played at hardcore intensity as if that was the way the genre was born to be. Refreshing in its unique approach to what is all too often a stale genre these days, 'And So I Watch You From Afar' was rightly lavished with lashings of critical praise upon its release back in 2009. Now the band has responded to the challenge of providing a suitably monolithic second album in typically confident fashion.

'Gangs', it will no doubt disappoint some to say, is not quite ‘part 2’ to their debut record. There is an undoubted progression that has been made here. Whilst the likes of 'BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION' and the stunningly mental 'Search:Party:Animal' are clearly cut from the same cloth as the most up-tempo moments from their debut, the majority of the material on 'Gangs' is a little more restrained but still with more than enough ferocity to whip audiences into a wild frenzy wherever the band choose to play.

Although some moments fail to work quite as one would like, especially the somewhat underwhelming 'Think:Breathe:Destroy', this is pretty accomplished stuff. What the band have done here is to subtly move their material across into a slightly more expansive realm without losing their unique nature of being a post-rock band that is more focused on the ‘rock’ than the ‘post’. They have also added a slightly more pronounced math rock element as well that is similar to the likes of Adebisi Shank. Even on the twelve minute two-parter that is 'Homes', And So I Watch You From Afar stay far away from the pretentiousness that many instrumental bands are accused of. Not for them an over reliance on the peaks and the troughs, but instead a pleasing ability to blend riffs that are desperate to bust your front teeth in and soundscapes that make you feel like it’s a good time to go out and have a beer...or six.

See, while most post-rock bands are all about the beautiful and the melancholic, And So I Watch You From Afar are about having a bloody good time and they more than provide a good time with this record. It is not perfect but, unless you are deaf or don’t like anything that’s loud and kicking, it is destined to become one of your favorite records of 2011. From the breakneck pace of 'BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION' through the buoyant anthem that is highlight '7 Billion People all Alive at Once' to the samba outro to closer 'Lifeproof', 'Gangs' is a concoction of great joy distilled into instrumental riff-based rock goodness. You have to love them, you just have to. Surely it is just too much effort not to. - stereoboard.com

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1 Engineers:

Juanchi Newells said...

Thanks!! Great stuff.

Also check