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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

3.83 | 82 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Gangs' - And So I Watch You From Afar (7/10)

Math rock remains to be one of the few outlets in progressive rock I have not yet explored, so even while the sound here is not entirely alien to me, this 2011 album has given me an exciting jolt of adrenaline. And So I Watch You From Afar was recommended to me by the former bassist of my band, and showing me a track or two from their first, self-titled album, I found them to be very fresh sounding, impressing me with their technical and sporadic take on post-rock. 2011 sees And So I Watch You From Afar delivering their second dose of strangeness to the world, and it is fairly easy to see why post and math rock fans may be raving over it. Over a forty-five minute period, the band takes the listener on a rhapsodic blitz through a myriad of often technical, often dissonant, and mostly excellent musical ideas; the result is a feeling of awe at the band's display, but also of scatteredness.

And So I Watch You From Afar is incredibly complex music, but they manage to keep it energetic and fun, often switching between sharp, strange moments and more rocking ones. This gives a nice balance for the band's music, and the weirdly technical sound of the band never gets overbearing. Of course, it is the bands experimental approach that are their greatest asset; sometimes I think a crude Bela Bartok guitar composition on LSD, or at other times, Explosions In The Sky on PCP. There are melodies which weave their ways into the more conventional post-rock sections of this album, and those make for an incredibly refreshing change of pace.

The most lasting impression that 'Gangs' remains still in the way they are sporadically able to change between sounds and pack so many ideas into an album. There is structure to the songwriting here, but it appears more in the sense that some of the more memorable hooks pop up here and there throughout the song. Besides that, ASIWYFA has the carte blanche to keep exploring new ideas. The band is instrumental, but they never get boring; there is certainly never the sense that an idea ever gets old. On the contrary, sometimes it feels as if the band would have benefited by sticking on one or two ideas a little longer, and create more of a coherent structure with them. However, for what I'm assuming that the band was aiming for, this scattered and 'out there' feeling that the songwriting has is successful, for the most part.

The ideas here themselves can range from being brilliant in their complexity and arrangement, to sometimes quite frankly irritating; ASIWYFA's mathier dissonance and distorted appeal does not always brush by me the right way, and while I can only appreciate their crazy take on the post-rock sound, it is definitely a sound that leaves plenty of room for flaws. That being said, the band's excellence is fairly evident with 'Gangs', and at the rocketing pace they're going at, one can only expect them to reach the moon before long.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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