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And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs CD (album) cover

GANGS

And So I Watch You From Afar

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.67 | 82 ratings

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The Runaway
4 stars At first, when my friend sent me a link to the first song off this album, I thought the band name was the song name because of how long it was. When I realised that suddenly many more "songs" are named this way, I realised that I had been fooled by the complex names of Post and Math Rock bands, once again. ASIWYFA is one of those bands that have such a sound that can only be confused with only very few bands, and also very rarely, and I think it really adds to their character. Their metallic parts on post-ish songs and unisono yells on mathy riffs are so unique that once you hear them once you can't confuse them with anything else.

The album opens with the uniquely named BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION. After I realised that this was not the band name, I immediately realised the beauty of this name. It may seem a bit pretentious at first but sometimes, we all feel like beautiful master champions of the universe, and I must say musically this song is similar. Opening with a few blasting multi guitar 10-noted chords and some massive yells reminiscent of the mighty Japandroids (the only band that sounds similar to these folks). They then go into a riffy quiet part to build up to the drum and bass entrance (not to be confused with the same genre which sounds nothing alike). The first riff comes back and is fused with the latter to create some sort of epic pre-reprise, and then before we even notice, they go back into the same latter riff, again, quiet. Another drum entrance and this sounds just a tad bit like a new Giraffes? Giraffes! song but still maintains a unique sound. Jonathan Adger's pumping bass sound fills the air as they enter yet another drum and bass breakdown. The guitars maintain a post-rock floaty feel but drummer Chris Wee adds the powerful metal feel. Around 3 minutes in, the song enters a very soft post-rock-ish feel, which sounds like Sigur Ros meets Explosions in the Sky. These guys aren't as unique as Battles which can not be compared to anything, but still maintain a cool sound. They build up to a climax as the drums play louder and louder and the guitars go higher higher, and higher. Guitarists Tony and Rory play octave unisono and raise the mood of the previously recorded post-rock riff with their massive reverbs. One more, final climax, before they reach the beautiful universely composed, master championly played ending.

Next song is the semi-eponimously titled Gang (starting never stopping). It starts with a low volumed guitar line before blasting into the whole band playing in insane time signatures, constantly changing, and almost impossible to understand. If there was ever a song for running from loan sharks, this is it. They return to their first riff and then go into a very very short riff that sounds very early prog, before going into an insane 11/4 riff with a very familiar chord sequence played in a unique fill. The style of ASIWYFA's short breaks is so amazing that I cannot find ways to describe it. Then, mysteriously, the drums dissappear for a few rounds before magically reappearing along with a few more guitars to help dirty up the already dirty track. And of course, no prog song is complete without a reprise, so they go back to the main riff with some sort of insane drum solo by Chris which then breaks down into a beautiful one minute soft post rock piece.

Search:Party:Animal is one of the more hardcore pieces of the album. Personally, I find metal a bit hard to enjoy, so this is a weaker track for me, although the band plays so beautifully it is hard to not enjoy. Again, the use their famous breaking style to make the song sound much more epic when it returns from the break a second later. Rory and Tony loop themselves over and over, before going into an epically massive bombastic riff, one minute and 20 seconds into the song. Two minutes and a half in, they go into a riff which sounds oddly similar to Devotchka's The Enemy Guns, however very different in terms of arrangement. A few more riffs, back to the Devotchka riff, with a twist, and the first riff played over it, and the song ends.

Now comes my favorite song. Garage Post Rock masterpiece, 7 Billion People All Alive At Once. As post rock title tracks always do, this one enlightened me. The thought of being only one person of 7 billion people all living, and breathing, and performing the same tasks daily, it's quite amazing, this world, and this is what this song makes me think. Starting with a post rock-ish riff, joined by a very ASIWYFA drum part, the song then goes into a slowly climaxing part, with a beautiful orchestartion, before breaking down shortly into a guitar, line... BADADADA, the many vocals fill the air as the band reprises the post rock riff however with grungy guitar lines and blasting drum parts. This gives me chills every time, the unisono vocals feel as if all the 7 billion people have united for one joined cause. The post rock riff quickly becomes a mathy riff, also reminiscent of Foals. Short drum burst, and back into the riff. Again, they burst, but this time it goes into what would sound like EitS meet heavy ASIWYFA.

Think:Breathe:Destroy is sort of a sequel to Search:Party:Animal, both lyrically and musically. They play a metallic riff alternating between 11/8 and 10/8 before taking a short King Crimson-ish break, and then you suddenly realize how KC it is. They then take another break and blast into a pop meets math metal sort of riff, and then into a grinding, squealing, and screeching guitar solo. Break, once more, and they enter some sort of majory, happy, jumpy guitar riff. They loop over it and play more and more parts until they enter another squealy guitar solo which blasts into another ASIWYFA style riff. Chris goes all out on his drums, bashing everything in sight, while Rory lays out the tracks for Tony to continue with his insane solo. More insane riffage and the guitar loops and drums stop revealing some sort of ambient, airy, synth section, reminiscent of Mew's Chinaberry Tree. Some guitar feedback and growls as the song segues into Homes.

Homes is the weakest part of the album, in my opinion. I find it pretty boring and not nearly as good as the epics earlier in the album. And also, ASIWYFA are not an 11 minute song band, more like five, and that is a style perfected earlier on.

Lifeproof is also pretty dull, as, musically, it sums up pretty much the whole of the album. Not in terms of reprises, just genres. It is, however, boring and lacks the beauty that songs like 7 Billion and BEAUTIFULUNIVERSE have.

Overall, the first half of the album is amazing, but after a while it gets boring and repetitive. This is why, I give Gangs by And So I Watch You From Afar, four out of five stars.

The Runaway | 4/5 |

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