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Caspian - The Four Trees CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.61 | 18 ratings

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3 stars The couple of years since Caspian’s debut EP have been good to the band. Their sound, while still not particularly innovative or genre-bending, is still quite appealing for pretty much the same reasons any other good post-rock bands is appealing: striking arrangements, invigorating crescendos, and soothing lulls in between. So apparently these guys have been good students of style.

What distinguishes them? Not much really. Their compositions tend to be a bit tighter and more to-the- point than some of their more ambitious brethren. You won’t find them indulging in side-long epics; the longest track on this (their first full-length album) is only nine minutes and most are around five, veritable interludes for bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Sigur Rós. But lots of other post- rock bands put out albums with shorter songs, so that’s nothing new really.

And they don’t spend much time with the lulls and ambience either (which is largely why their tracks are so short I suppose). Here again though there are others of the same ilk: Explosions in the Sky and Tortoise among them.

But still the guitar churn, feedback and well-placed loops have great energy, and the band doesn’t skimp when it comes to layering sounds that wait to be discovered when the volume dial passes eight or so. The opening track “Moksha” is a perfect example with a quickly-building crescendo that adds percussion and synthesized accompaniment to the guitar drone almost immediately, followed by a fuzz- laden buildup that catches your ear and holds it all the way through the follow-on “Some are White Light” before finally backing off just a bit on the more staid “Sea Lawn”. But by the time things let up just a bit you’re nearly twenty minutes into the album and wondering where the time went. For some reason that strikes me as a bit impressive.

“Crawlspace” is a track that also appeared on a 2006 promo EP, and this one also hits the ground running and has very little letup. The rhythm guitar here makes the whole thing work with a persistent and rapidly-building surge to the climax you know is coming, and there is no disappointment when it does. Again, nothing novel, just good music and well-orchestrated.

“Book IX” features some syncopated drumming that gives it a bit of added intensity and the guitar work is particularly clean and energetic, while “The Dropsonde” (what’s a ‘dropsonde’ anyway?) and “Brombie” tend toward a bit of self-indulgence with the drone and recorded loops, but who’s quibbling. “Our Breath in Winter” sounds like something out of an Explosions in the Sky album, a comparison that can be made of several Caspian tracks, and “the Dove” is just ambient filler.

The guitar work on “Asa” sounds suspiciously like “Moksha” although I can’t say I really mind, and “…Reprise” sort of summarizes the whole album (hence the title).

So all in all a more consistent effort than their EP, but the band doesn’t seem to have quite found a unique voice just yet. A good album though, and worth seeking out if you’re into post-rock with lots of energy. Three stars, and here’s looking forward to hearing what they come up with next.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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