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Blueneck - Scars Of The Midwest CD (album) cover

SCARS OF THE MIDWEST

Blueneck

 

Post Rock/Math rock

4.03 | 10 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Crow
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Turn off the lights, lay in your bed, grab your headphones? And enjoy both the music and the noise!

The guys of Blueneck needed six long years to release their first full length album, but they managed to create a piece of art of sheer beauty, surprising maturity and new ideas for the controversially named post-rock. A true journey through a sea of sentiments and atmospheres.

Corin Dingley helped in the production of the album, and his experience is obvious when we hear how splendid this album sounds. For some listeners, this kind of music can be just a mixture between repetitive melodies and noises, but achieving the natural and pleasant symbiosis that we find in Scars of the Midwest is not easy. And I think that Dingley played a very important role.

The Hills Have Eyes is a noisy introduction, in the vein of some passages of Pink Floyd, which of course are one of the early influences for post-rock together with acts like King Crimson. Sadly, is not really interesting besides being an homage to Wes Craven. But Judas Judas shows the full instrumental potential and the ultra-melancholic, almost apocalyptic, style of this band, with an ominous piano melody, noisy background and a progressive crescendo started and ruled by the drums, a characteristic that will repeat itself many times in this album and in a lot of post-rock bands.

OIG is the first song with lyrics of the album. And it's maybe also my favorite. I find the Duncan Attwood vocal melodies superb and so are the cryptic and strange lyrics. "Listen dark and don't ses hidden down the bedo. This is like eternal and me like a fellow" This is the chorus of the song, and with the typical structure verse-chorus-verse-chorus Blueneck are defying the concept of post-rock, despite being a pure experimental and very dark sounding track with another intense crescendo which contains a beautiful bass line. An almost perfect composition!

Le:465 is another instrumental song with delicate vocal melodies which avoid all kind of leadership. The soft guitars, piano melody and bass playing remember me to Sigur Ros this time. And UB1 has obvious Brian Eno influences, with its minimalistic piano melody and very delicate layer of noise and synths.

Epiphany is another hit of the album and the second song with lyrics which start with a sort of gale in the background, giving way to another beautiful vocal work from Attwood and a fine final part with some kind of Hammond organ (or similar effect), really interesting. UB2 bring back the soft piano melody influenced by 70's new age, but in a faster rhythm this time and another whispered vocal melody. The song ends in the typical crescendo with piercing guitars and a complex bass line.

Amoc has the virtue to be the most positive and uplifting track of the album, and it's also one of the finest. The Sigur Ros from ( ) comes again to my mind with this song, which contains another crescendo with drums played with brushes which gives a curious jazz feeling to the track.

Yesterday's Forgotten is the third song with lyrics, and also the last. Very melancholic, but not so sad as other tracks of the album. The atmosphere that the band can recreate here remembers me to a tiny sunray filtered in a dense fog. Because this album is just that, sensations and landscapes. Great!

Conclusion: it's a pleasure to discover how a band with very diverse influences ranging between Pink Floyd, Brian Eno, Sigur Ros, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and many others had the ability to wisely mix all of them to create a unique album, which deserves to be delighted peacefully and free of prejudices.

Even if you did not like other post-rock or experimental rock bands, I recommend you give Scars of the Midwest a chance. It's a very sad but very beautiful album, with a splendid songwriting and great production and after repeated listening you'll notice that this band hides a lot of musicianship and talent inside.

Best Tracks: Judas Judas, OIG, Epiphany, Amoc.

My Rating: ****

The Crow | 4/5 |

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