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Do Make Say Think - You, You're A History In Rust CD (album) cover


Do Make Say Think

Post Rock/Math rock

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4 stars Imagine how shocked I was to find You, You're A History In Rust in an underground record store here in town three days before its release! It was the only Do Make Say Think album they carried, and it wasn't very easy to find. Still, by pure luck and timing, I happened open my favorite post-rock band's latest recording before it was released! I immediately gave the CD a spin when I got home, and I was floored by it.

First off, I better mention the packaging. The album artwork is just beautiful - and it really works to establish the mood for the album. Secondly, it must be said that Rust is a pretty complete departure from the band's previous body of work. It becomes suddenly apparent that this record will be grounded in acoustic guitars. There's even a trace of banjo on some songs! This truly is a rust-tinted piece of music, and it's just dripping with nostalgia and memories of summer days. Despite the newfound interest in acoustic guitars, the sound of the album will be fairly familiar to fans of the band. It's playful, but powerful. It's atmospheric, but it's not boring. Most importantly, it's an experience.

The opener, "Bound To Be That Way" announces its presence with some soft horns and melodic strums of the guitar. Already the atmosphere of the album is pouring in. The track quickly establishes itself with strong percussion and competent electric guitars - but there's something different. A banjo and an acoustic guitar make themselves noticed throughout, solidifying the song as one of the best in their catalogue. "A With Living" follows, opening with steady rhythm and rough and haunting vocals. It's no secret that Rust contains vocals, and they're used to great effect here. The song fades away over brass and sweeping choral sighs.

Unfortunately, "The Universe!" comes flying out of the gates with a charging electric guitar and completely halts the slowly building momentum of the album. The shame is that it's a great song, but it just doesn't belong at this point in the record. Thankfully, the track dissolves into strings, allowing the album to return to where it had left off. The weakest song on the album is followed by my favorite song - "A Tender History In Rust." At first it sounds like an atmospheric track, with samples and humming creating a hefty droan. Then there's laughter, and an acoustic guitar softly breaks out. It's a triumphant moment, leading into the warmest song on the album - full of whistling, hums, and tender horns.

"Herstory Of Glory" kicks off with understated drums, and then rumbles on with a thundering bassline and flourishes of guitar. "You, You're Awesome" is the shortest song on the album, and is mostly acoustic. It contains slide guitar that defines the song, but it's fairly mellow. The penultimate "Executioner Blues" is the most reminiscent of DMST's previous work - reminding me of a more aggressive and radiant "Reitschule," but with a more rusty tone and some nice piano.

The finale, "In Mind" also features vocals, although heavily distorted. The lyrics are curiously found in the CD-case after the acknowledgements. It sounds nothing like anything else Do Make Say Think have recorded, but it's very fitting to Rust. It's a beautiful finish to this album - with banjo and acoustic guitar plucking on beneath some layers of ambient noise and horns. You, You're A History In Rust is a very good album, with very few missteps. Who would have thought that a golden, acoustic based sound would work with this band?

Report this review (#113476)
Posted Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Very experimental in their timbre and proggy in their delivery. this instrumental post rock band is in my opinion different from all the rest. out their on their own still making albums that are worth the money. i recently bought what in my opinion could be their weakest effort winter hymm... and was slightly dissapointed but not upset about spending the money because there's still great music there to relish just not a complete album. this album straightens that out and in my opinion is their best so far.
Report this review (#161919)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having discovered them just recently after the sense of curiosity that was born in my mind when the relese of their 2009 album was announced, Do Make Say Think has already made a big impression on me. This Canadian post-rock act can certainly create exciting music with their micture of muscular drive and tecturial developments. No wonder that they are so highly praised usually in the current post-rock cirlces. Now it is my time to review their penultimate effort "You, You're A History In Rust", which I widely recommend as the perfect entrance for the non-initiated. The opener 'Bound To Be That Way' starts with a soft swing based on jazzy cadences, and then, an even softer set of guitar chords sets in to anticipate the elaboration of the main body, which turns out to be a simple yet powerfully evocative journey of meditative vibrations. 'A With Living' states a pulsating motion that heavily relies on the tribal drumming that installs itself beneath the mysterious arpeggios on the dual acoustic guitars. The warmth climax that gradually emerges from there until the 5 minute mark is properly fed by the vocal interventions. The track's second and final part revives the initial melancholy. It is in track no. 3, 'The Universe!', that the DMST guys start to frontally show their rocking facet, incorporating a stoner-like mood into the intense basic motifs that go flowing by. The emrgence of some cosmic ornaments serves as a neurotic resource from which a captivating, uneasy crescendo is built up by the ensemble. 'A Tender History In Rust' has an intro full of eerie tonalities, notably inspired in the musique concrete trend, before the main body shifts toward a mysterious amalgam of acoustic guitars, vibraphone, alleatory percussions, plus sweet string & horn arrangements. This unexpected shift toward some sort of avant-garde country allows the listenerto comprehend the not-so-usual bucolic aspect of DMST. 'Herstory Of Glory' brings out the GYBE! influence in full swing: a special mention goes to the careful treatment of the simplistic harmonic basis on an 11/8 tempo through multiple guitar and violin layers. This is really plethoric, but again, we must remember that the album has to go on, and so, 'You, You're Awesome' moves into introverted realms (not lacking energy at all, let's make it clear), bringing back the country-related colorfulness we had found earlier in 'A Tender History In Rust'. 'Executioner Blues' reintroduces the featured use of electric guitars and enthusiastic rhythms, but it is quite evident that the airs of mystery and melancholy prevail - I find this piece ver yrelated to the Indie spirit of 'A With Living'. After a spectacular climax near the end, the ethereal coda resumes the abundant nostalgia in a cohesive fashion. The album's last 4 minutes are occupied by 'In Mind', a soft piece that starts with ample room for the acoustic guitars, with the banjo, violins and synth layers adding extra textures little by little. The angelic chorale seems to announce the serene arrival of the first visions of sunlight at dawn, a new day dawning after an evening and night of melancholy. With this mental image of mine, I finish this review for an album that I regard as excellent. Do Make Say Think has been a great discovery for me in 2009, indeed.
Report this review (#257582)
Posted Thursday, December 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Do Make Say Think tend to be overshadowed a lot by their fellow Canadian post-rockers in Godspeed You Black Emperor (and its many any varied side projects such as A Silver Mt Zion), and to be honest, whilst I've enjoyed some of their albums efforts like You, You're a History In Rust don't really thrill me. Playing in a jazzier style than Godspeed but with the same lo-fi, threadbare aesthetic, the band play a bit more loosely and freely, with less structure, and also tend to meander a little more. With a bit more focus, they can do well, as can be heard on the earlier album Goodbye Enemy Airship, but here they just sound like lukewarm post-rock dabblers.
Report this review (#703022)
Posted Sunday, April 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Continuing the Good Vibe.

'Rust' gives us eight tracks of which six were recorded at family cottages and barns. This perhaps explains the general (but not ubiquitous) laid back and unpretentious feel of this album, which generally continues the good vibe set by 'Country Hymn'. There is more acoustic guitar on this album, and also more horn parts (and violin, vibes and marimba - they have multiple guests) than on previous albums. "Bound to be that way', the first tune (after it decides which theme it wants to present) eventually gets to a lovely acoustic-guitar theme that drives the music. Likewise, the fourth track ('A Tender History in Rust'), starts with a beautiful drone-improv before evolving around a wonderful acoustic-guitar driven theme. 'Herstory of Glory' also is structured around an acoustic-guitar theme for much of its first half, while the second more-electric half is totally uplifted by the presence of the violin. Meanwhile, this album presents perhaps the first recorded DMST lyrics, sung by a campfire-like choir on the 9-minute 'A With Living', which is largely successful and features a great multi-horn theme. 'The Universal' is the one loud and brash tune here, with fast playing and another great repeated theme played by the horns/other guests. 'You, You're Awesome' is a slower electric heartstring puller, with a very nice emotional horn-section overlay which would have made a great close to the album if it had been extended a bit more. The last two tracks are both great too, although these ones were recorded later, in the studio, and to be honest, they feel less laid back. 'Executioner Blues' feels a bit rushed, actually, with more dissonance and schizo-guitars that seem to want to jump the beat at times. although it is the one that starts and ends with the sound of crickets. The closing track, 'In Mind', is another acoustic-structured number which sounds like it could have been recorded at the cottage, with a repeated 1-4 chord progression throughout and some banjo sounds, eventually blossoming into a full vocal onslaught with more lyrics. On the whole, there are no bad tunes on this album, and each one keeps its own musical identity. It is difficult to pick favourites, as the quality is generally high, yet there is no tune that really stands out as being extraordinarily musical (well, perhaps 'A Tender History of Rust'). I give this album 7.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is just 0.1 short of 4 PA stars.

Report this review (#1697981)
Posted Thursday, March 2, 2017 | Review Permalink

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