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


And So I Watch You From Afar

Post Rock/Math rock

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3 stars A solid one, really. I'm not into Post-Rock much recently, but there are still some enjoyable albums, even though made by the same good old receipts. AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR's self-titled release is kind of such one. It has everything one can expect from any Post-Rock Album nowadays: some Electronica, some Metal, some weird tracks' names, some melodies, but nothing to write home about if you've already heard this thousand times before. I thought I'd never be that snobby, but seriously some albums are good only when you're listening to them right now...and when you turn them off, you can hardly remember a single note from it. Recommended for genre's fans
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Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Kickin' debut proper from these Irish posties, stuffed to the seams with youthful power and emotion, showing vague influences from alternative rock but smashing it into pieces and replacing it with something much more explosive. Closer to a headbutt from a stout, neck-less soccer hooligan. A sound is achieved that penetrates deep with the dual guitars, drums & bass creating wall after wall of seismic sea waves as the band pounds the shoreline. Powerhouse drummer Chris Wee, bassist Johnny Adger and the guitars of Tony Wright & Rory Friers are all-for-one. Their approach is unimpeachably that of a team, creating a huge, absolute, unselfish singularity with the music, never allowing individualism to get in the way.

'Set Guitars to Kill' establishes the bare-knuckle tone, Wright & Friers echoing a distant storm, Adger thudding out accents underlaid with Wee's phenomenal drums (this is no 'wee' player), culminating in a beautiful twin guitar line. A touch of Brit-alt for 'A Little Bit of Solidarity Goes a Long Way', jingling Math in 'Clench Fists,Grit Teeth' with more skull-rattling hunks of rhythm and progressing well past 6 minutes into some unexpected stuff. The Edge's impact is heard on 'I Capture Castles' with a good mix of military strike and stony spacerock. Fun and garage-like 'Start a Band' and 'Tip of the Hat,Punch in the Face' with spectacular post-metallic breaks, totally killer 'If it Ain't Broke,Break it', ending in softer territory for 'The Voiceless' and 'Eat the City,Eat it Whole'.

Complex though not purebred math/post and with far more emphasis on the expression of feeling rather than the formation of thought, ASIWYFA is one hell of a band that would likely blow away almost any poor devils who were dumb enough to go on after them. And like a group of rioting footy fans who are "Just out for a good time,mate", this foursome will quite easily crush you into bite-size bits. Right. Toodle pip.

Report this review (#377436)
Posted Sunday, January 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Northern Ireland's And So I Watch You From Afar's eponymous debut sadly didn't get them acclaim it should. As a debut album for a band that plays two of the world's unknown genres (Post and Math Rock), it sort of dissappeared and they didn't get the appraise they needed until their second album, Gangs. However, their first album is longer and musically much more interesting.

The album opens with "Set Guitars To Kill". The blasting reverb toms and guitar soundscapes are destined to blow off any speaker membrane, before going into the fantastic guitar riff, switching between major and minor all the time to keep the interesting a bit more interesting. The band's unison sounds totally real and un-produced, and yet so full and heavy. Each riff gets better and better, and even more unique than the others. These guys sound like a metal band playing Math! 5/5

"A Little Bit of Solidarity Goes A Long Way" again uses the metal riffs from earlier, and yet now uses a sadder, melancholic feel with the pumping post rock chords. Random shouts are heard throughout the song, and I must admit they are a bit annoying, but hey, whatever they want! A bit too short for it to really progress though, and maybe a bit repetitive, but the core of the song is fantastic. 4/5

"Clench Fists, Grit Teeth... Go!" is regular ASIWYFA. Metallic riffs, mathy time signatures, and nothing really new to offer. Reminds me a bit of This Town Needs Guns meets heavy Muse. I must admit though, the aerial soundscapes ASIWYFA manage to produce are amazing. 3/5

"I Capture Castles" is post-rock to the max, style GY!BE meets guitars and distortion. The soundtrack to walking down the dark, empty road to your house until being attacked by a zombie, and then turning into a fierce, heartless, zombie killing machine... or something like that. The build ups in this song are amazing, but the song itself isn't really unique. 3/5

"Start a Band" continues with the post rock feel, this time almost abandoning the electric guitars, at least for the first minute and a half of the song, before going off into the happiest chord sequence in the history of mankind. Another amazing thing about ASIWYFA is their breaks. They're swift, and they're tight, and that's what all it needs to make an amazing break and to turn a song even better. This song demands hipster dancing, and maybe even headbanging, an anthem indeed. 4/5

With "Tip of the Hat, Punch in the Face", we're back to old-school ASIWYFA. Pumping guitars, odd time signatures (23/8, 22/8), and breaks that can kill your grandmother, this song just wins. 4/5

"If It Ain't Broke... Break It" constantly switches between ASIWYFA's Metal, Post, and Math skills. For a second you can think you're listening to A Silver Mt. Zion, and for another Megadeth, and for another Giraffes? Giraffes!. This song's composition isn't really all that great, but the playing can't get it less than 3/5.

"These Riots Are Just the Beginning" is the 'creepiest' track by ASIWYFA to date. Again a zombie movie-like song, all it needs is the sharp7 addition and it's the next zombie movie theme song. And... there it is. Again a headbanging/hipster dancing song, this is song is fracking awesome. 4/5

Oh... the things I've got to say about this one... "Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate". First off, the song name already gives it a minimum of 3/5. That uplifting happy feeling that makes you wanna flip off your desk at work, and the explosion at around the one-minute mark that adds to that feeling are awesome. Vocal breaks similar to Yes' Close to the Edge, and pumping guitar jumps that sound just like Battles' Sundome are what makes ASIWYFA what they are, the most eclectic Math band to date. After the song cools down again, the band plays some chilled stuff, very feel good, very fun. The name is definitely not misleading, this song is the perfect rebellion song. After a very loud musical explosion, everyone moves to percussion as the song takes it's post rock football anthem break. Middle eastern drum parts, the most cowbell you can get in a song, and the fantastic vocalizations provided by the whole band, wow, this song is freedom. After the first time you'll listen to this, you'll have to listen again and again until your ears can no longer function. This is a masterpiece. 5/5

"The Voiceless" goes on with the post rock theme that is now set until the end of the album. This whole song is very reminscent of How Strange, Innocence by Explosions in the Sky. Around the middle of the song, everything breaks down to the familiar chord sequence of Am, F, C, G, but of course, the sequence is beautiful and so is this song. Now the song sounds like a cross between EitS and Post-Metal band Jesu. 4/5

Now for the grand finale of the album, "Eat the City, Eat it Whole". Along with "Voiceless", this is probably the only slow song on the album. Again, this song sounds a whole lot like Explosions, maybe even a bit too much. Feels a bit stolen. Around the middle of the song, the song takes it's speed finally, in a blasting 5/8 riff destined to blow off any head you like (wonder how their live shows are). The classic ASIWYFA trick of using only Major7 chords is used for the first time in their career on this song. The song cools down a bit again for a two guitar melancholic melody, before exploding completely for the last 30 seconds of the song. 4/5

Overall, this album is pretty great. Some songs are weaker, but overall the album is filled with fantastic songs. Only two songs should be called masterpieces in my opinion, Don't Waste Time and Set Guitars to Kill. Most of the songs earned a 4/5 rating while, only two earned 5 and three earned 3. I'll give this album four stars out of 5.

Report this review (#558265)
Posted Friday, October 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am excited as this is my first stop in revisiting this great band, and I'll be reviewing and rating accordingly, from release to release. I first came across ASIWYFA around 2015, following the evidently very fresh drop of their latest at the time, Heirs, released that year and put on repeat by me throughout that whole year [One of the few albums that I turned my now ex-girlfriend onto. You're so welcome, Sarah hahaha]. I loved that album. I recall it taking not a lot of time until I delved deeper and deeper into their discography. I'm realizing now that I have a severe enough blind spot: I, a purported fan, am yet to hear their two EPs that preceded this and at least one other minor release just after. This can and will be resolved to the best of my ability.

With the memorable and by now relatively well known "Set Guitars to Kill", we are introduced to And So I Watch You From Afar's darker beginnings: compare their self-titled and Gangs (2011) to what they do on All Hail Bright Futures (2013) and Heirs (2015). This first track is also evidence to their unique, on-brand fusion of Math Rock, Post-Rock and Prog elements.

Certainly in the midst of darkness and moodiness, we get glints of light and optimism, as on the next [where we get a lot of brightness], the beautiful and [very-mini-]epic "A Little Bit of Solidarity goes a Long Way". Awesome main riff and compositionally highly appealing and striking. More recognizably Post-Rock in structure on this one: Very big and loud, falling away to a sizeable swelling, emotive section to end things out. Starkly juxtaposed is another that I remember very well from first tom roll, "Clench Fists, Grit Teeth...Go!" This song features stronger Math Rock elements, calling back to The Redneck Manifesto to my ears. Then it's much more inherently themselves, using a recognizable heaviness that will continue on through The Letters EP to Gangs. Anyways, very good song.

"I Capture Castles", ever an interesting title, is also one that just takes me back. The echoing guitar riffs cascade over each other and over rolling drums. This is a big'n; heavy and intense. It's compositionally somewhat static compared to some others and in classic Post-Rock fashion (I'm not really a fan of the genre). One I loved back then; not so much now. "Start a Band" is one that in title and in sound does not ring a bell at all... I started to wonder why [/s], but then nearing minute 2 we have some interest. Cool coalescing riffs, often on the upbeat, over very cool drums.

One that I didn't recognize title-wise, but was very familiar sonically was "Tip of the Hat, Punch in the Face", a very upbeat [to use the word in a different way] song. Fun! And it certainly is holding my attention much more successfully than "I Capture Castles". I should have listened to this one even more back in the day haha. Midway hits and shifts yet again, as if not a lot had already happened here in the first two minutes. Immediately (apparently) just as awesome as the last, "If it ain't Broke... Break It" (har-har) is heavy. Pretty good.

And indeed, we were warned ~13 years ago, because indeed "These Riots are just the Beginning" haha. It starts off low and slow enough, but then builds to a "Hah!", the signature exclamation that things are about to go down. Once again, pretty good. Heavy but fun. If we haven't gotten enough suggestions and council, now it's "Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate". As a hedonist myself, I must say it's a great idea. And so, like I'm doing here, listen to albums from your past love and appreciation and enjoy. And indeed, this track has plenty to offer me, all these years later. Some of their earliest vocal parts occur here as well. We get a lot of that on All Hail and Heirs. Great song. Not their most progressive, but again having a lot to offer. Especially those with happy, joyful ears. :)

"The Voiceless" starts off with huge drums, like blasts of artillery shot right into our ears. Another with which I'm less enthusiastic, as we're back into the static of Post-Rockin' territory. And so finally, we have "Eat the City, Eat it Whole". This feels so classic somehow. Very satisfactory melody builds and eventually swells harder than they've gone on the entire release. As I like to put it, welcome to Frisson country... I'm feelin' this one. When it couldn't get any bigger and better, it shifts and morphs and we are in a fast jog. Hurried and then rushed. I don't remember this song being so good. Yet another big'n and therefore an excellent closer.

Report this review (#2693426)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2022 | Review Permalink

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