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Latitudes - Part Island CD (album) cover

PART ISLAND

Latitudes

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.09 | 3 ratings

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TCat
4 stars The band 'Latitudes' was formed in the UK in 2007 as an experimental/post metal band. After releasing an EP in 2007, they have released 4 full length albums since 2009, their latest one being released in August of 2019 called 'Part Island'. The band is currently made up of Mike Davies on drums, Adam Crowley on guitar, Tim Blyth on guitar and synth, Jon Lyon on Bass and Adam Symonds on vocals, guitar and synths. This is the bands first album with vocals on every track. There are 6 tracks totaling just over 43 minutes on this album.

The album begins with the shortest track which is still over 5 minutes, called 'Underlie'. An acoustic guitar provides the introduction and the soft, airy vocals start fairly soon. A piano soon joins the acoustic guitar. The vocals are very nice and become fuller as they continue. A procession of piano chords continue to play after the vocals stop and they usher in the full band coming in with sudden post metal force, and the mournful vocals soon return while the band plays at full dramatic volume. The contrast of the lovely melody and the harsh guitars is quite amazing. Next is 'Moorland is the Sea' which begins with guitars calling out and soon a moderate rhythm is established as the vocals begin. The vocals remain full and mournful, reminding me somewhat of Mark Hollis from 'Talk Talk', but the music itself varies from soft and lovely to loud and harsh, and the vocals keep right up with it all. The guitars are more active in this track providing foundation and also providing melodic passages at the same time. The drums also become wilder as the track continues, now not being an anchor as much as a driving force. Vocals continue to the 5 minute mark and then tempo slows a bit as the guitars and synths provide a beautiful, yet powerful instrumental section with occasional vocal embellishments.

'Dovestone' is immediately heavy and loud, and once again, vocals start early on, somewhat deep in the wall of noise sound that is established. There are some nice harmonics there too if you listen closely. Things calm a bit, but tension still continues, as vocals remain subdued until the wall of noise breaks and the vocals become more discernable. The return of the droning guitar gives the track a shoegaze quality, but then the intensity returns. The sound is as stately and solid as the grey rock formation described in the lyrics. After a short, atmospheric intro, 'Fallowness' suddenly explodes into melodic heaviness and the barely discernable vocals mix in with the heaviness, but after the first verse, the music suddenly becomes minimal and vocals continue as the music remains soft. This pattern repeats on the 2nd verse, but remains with the full band during the chorus and after with the guitars becoming somewhat pleading while the volume remains full.

'The Great Past' begins with a full on assault of heaviness and crazy drums. The vocals are buried in the noise assault, and a solid feel not unlike that of 'Pelican' continues to assault the senses. The contrast of loud music and mournful vocals continue, and you get the sense that this is a goth/post metal style. You can't really call it shoegaze however, because the guitars are too active with beautiful melodic hooks through the heavy sound. It's not really a drone either as much as it is a wall of heaviness. The last track is the title track 'Part Island' and is also the longest track at just over 10 minutes. It starts with a soft acoustic guitar and the dream-like vocals. Soft synths come in with a twinkling piano playing along. Again, as in the first track, there is a sudden interruption of this peace when the band bursts in. The verse then repeats itself against the full band, but the theme is quite melodic. After the vocals pause, there is another sudden interruption as the band suddenly increases tempo almost to a blistering speed. That wall of sound style is present again for a while as this section speeds along. After 6 minutes, everything gets soft again with piano and soft shimmering guitar play together. Then there is another sudden eruption after 7 minutes as it returns to the slower tempo. Vocals start again, this time with more urgency. After, the guitars improvise on the vocal theme and push everything to a nice, climatic ending.

This album is definitely an emotional one, with the main sound being heavy, mournful and somewhat emotional. The contrast of the voice and the heavy instruments is a nice touch and this style permeates most of the album. The soft sections also make for nice contrasts, and there are just enough of them to keep a dynamic feel to the album. Also, the fact that the guitars can be melodic and still provide a heavy post-metal feel give the album an emotional quality that is unique. A little more experimentation would have been welcome as by the end of the album, things start to sound similar, so more experimentation with the overall sound would have been nice. But overall, this is a promising album that delivers on it's promise, but just falls short of being 5 stars.

TCat | 4/5 |

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