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We vs. Death - A Black House, A Coloured Home CD (album) cover

A BLACK HOUSE, A COLOURED HOME

We vs. Death

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.22 | 4 ratings

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VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars In the last couple of months I've been exploring a lot of music from rather unknown bands, including a lot of albums that are being distributed for free by the bands that make them. "A Black House, A Coloured Home" is one such album, courtesy of post-rock group "We vs. Death." Overall it's a decent album that shows a lot of potential, but it does have a lot of problems that prevent it from being a truly top-notch post-rock album.

"The things you did" begins the album with some distorted guitar sounds that should be all too familiar to anyone who listens to Post-Rock on a regular basis. However, the song doesn't stick with this motif for too long, as a fairly intricate guitar part picks up without much delay. Some horns add another unique element, and the track has a great ambience to it, but it doesn't inspire the kind of emotion that really excellent post-rock can, and so it comes off feeling a bit repetitive, and the briefly used vocals don't really help this.

"Hands" comes next, and makes greater use of the vocals. The problem that I have here is that to my ears it sounds texturally almost identical to "The things you did," and lacking a particularly strong melody, it just feels a bit redundant. I'm not a huge fan of the vocal style here either, in my opinion they stick out in a way that detracts from the otherwise sedate nature of this music.

"The sun" doesn't fall as much into this issue, adding a strong beat in the middle of the track that helps differentiate it from the rather wandering nature of the first two tracks. It also uses the vocals a bit better towards the end of the track, as they are mixed pretty far back and thus add to the atmosphere instead of detracting from it. "The sun" is easily the most dynamic track up to this point on the album, with some uptempo parts that help mix it up.

"Mirage" starts with a slow crescendo before some spooky-sounding guitar comes in. This gives the first part of the track a very haunting sound and provides an excellent base for some percussion and bass to develop. It's a chilling track that wisely gives its instruments room to breathe, which is a nice difference from the thick textures found in a lot of post-rock.

"Collection of stones" plays out rather similarly, but this time with vocals. Minimal, haunting arrangements are the name of the game here, and the somewhat raw sounding vocals are used to their best effect here, giving the track a desolate, lonely feel that works very well, especially as a follow-up to "Mirage."

"Black map" returns more to the style of the first couple songs, but after "Mirage" and "Collection of stones," it doesn't feel as redundant as the first two tracks did. It also, in my opinion, makes better use of melody, alternating motifs in a way that I find to be much more harmonically interesting then the more textural first two tracks. My only complaint here is that the ending feels a little abrupt.

"Golden medals" closes off the album on an unsurprisingly melancholic note, given the overall tone of the album thus far. Vocals return, and they're passable here but certainly nothing special. Overall, I think the track runs into the same problem as the first two, in sounding a little too much like "generic post-rock" to be truly great in its own right. There is a great guitar melody that's used towards the end of the song, though.

Overall, "A Black House, A Coloured Home" has a few really good moments that are unfortunately overshadowed by too many overly-homogeneous tracks. The horn parts, which could have been used to really differentiate the album from other post-rock releases, are in my opinion underused and therefore end up being ultimately forgettable. The album only really becomes excellent when it strips down its sound, and as such "Mirage" and "Collection of stones" are the highlights here. This album does show a good deal of potential and if the band can really refine and differentiate its sound I think that they will have some very good releases in the future.

2.5/5, rounded up

VanVanVan | 3/5 |

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