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Pelican - City Of Echoes CD (album) cover

CITY OF ECHOES

Pelican

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.41 | 58 ratings

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Petrovsk Mizinski
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album was quite a departure from the Pelican sound many of us had become accustomed too. It was an album that was shaped by the band's experience touring and how as they went from city to city, they could see the effects of globalization making the Western world cities (indeed quite possibly more so than the 1st world cities) seem more alike over time. This is obviously, quite a shift from the mainly environmentalist nature of the previous records, now onto a record that at it's core features the theme of globalization. While you get a sense of anti-globalization from the name of some of the songs on this album, the band has also stated that this album was not meant to evoke entirely negative messages.

The first thing I noticed about this album upon listening, was the lack of doomy sludge in the sound, something that had become quite a common sound in previous Pelican outings. Some people that were hardcore Pelican fans and would have hoped to have heard the band continue with that sound for the next record after The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw, might be sorely disappointed in this regard. There seems to be much less power chord action happening, with Trevor de Brauw and Laurent Schroeder-Lebec concentrating more on single note lines, and the textural melody of the previous albums that helped to add complexity to the overall sound are thankfully not absent from City of Echoes. Trevor and Laurent still sound like Trevor and Laurent, in that you will be able to hear their style again in this album even if they abandoned some elements of playing that featured on their previous album. So no matter how much this record changed from The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw, you still know it's Pelican from their guitar styles.

Bryan Herweg's drumming, really captured my attention a lot more on City Of Echoes. More complex, filling a bit more space (but also appropriate in the musical context) and really just more present in the mix of things. A fantastic musical performance on Bryan's part. Larry's bass could be heard well too, which is always a good thing too. Perhaps I could even say this album feels less guitar driven and more band driven perhaps. It really just seemed there was a little more interplay between all the band members.

It's safe to say, while The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw was very much a post metal record, City Of Echoes is more post rock sounding, leading to perhaps post rock/post metal record. Some may not like that change, but I really liked it, as it showed a little more diversity in Pelican's sound. Also quite evident, is the much shorter track duration on average, which of course means there aren't any of the epic 10 minute plus tracks we encountered on previous outings

Standout tracks for me, are City Of Echoes, Spaceship Broken-Parts Needed, Winds With Hands (at the time of writing this review, the track was incorrectly named Win With Hands on the PA track listing information) and Dead Between The walls.

City of Echoes has many twists and turns, and it makes it so enjoyable to listen to. It may a tad over 7 minutes, but in that space of time, it achieves a hell of a lot and feels almost like a mini epic. Spaceship Broken-Parts Needed has some extremely uplifting moments and packs a heck of a punch in just over 6 minutes, an impressive effort and so far (not including albums that may be released after this review), it might just be one of my favorite Pelican songs ever. Whenever I've put City Of Echoes on for a spin, Spaceship Broken-Parts needed was always put on repeat several times, it was just that much of an amazing song to my ears. If you're looking for one of the really heavy songs on here, Dead Between The Walls is the one. It may not be sludgy, but it still crushes. Complex interwoven guitar lines feature in the heaviness too, so it's not just a non stop heavy onslaught. Winds With Hands is the acoustic track. Very Dark in nature and a few really interesting twists too boot. The rest of the album is also very good, and not a single track I would skip either.

The Recording quality was perhaps still a little 'lacking' like previous releases, but it feels more cleaned up to a degree though, but for what it is, it fits the vibe of the music perfectly. While the album wasn't flat out amazing from start to end, the songs that I love, are just amazing and make up for anything the album lacked for me. I really admired the bands courage to change direction, all the while doing so while being able to push forward in some areas, and still keep enough of their signature sound that you know it's Pelican and no one else. Fans of the sludgy Pelican sound might want to give this a miss, but if you want to hear the band take on a different approach with excellent musical results, I think it's well worth the listen.

Petrovsk Mizinski | 4/5 |

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