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Pelican - City of Echoes CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.43 | 63 ratings

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3 stars Pelican has always been a solid Post Metal band with a heavy, grungy and almost sludgy sound that I tend to get tired of rather quickly, because it doesn't have enough dynamic in it to suit my taste. Yet, I recognize their importance in the Post Rock and Metal genre, because when I think of that heavy wall of sound that some Post Rock bands have, I tend to compare them to Pelican. Their songs typically can be long, developing slowly sometimes until you are enveloped in this wall of noise, or sometimes just relentlessly grabbing you by the ears and dragging you under.

"City of Echoes" is Pelican's 3rd full length album, and one of the things I find intriguing about it is that it tends to be a bit lighter than some of their other albums, but it isn't to the point that you doubt you are hearing the same band, there is still a lot of heaviness to it, but the overall sound seems more adventurous. However, except for the title track, the songs are a bit shorter, staying around the 4 - 5 minute mark. You would think that taking Pelican in smaller sized chunks would be easier to digest, but now it seems that the songs are underdeveloped in some cases.

As most seem to acknowledge on this site, the best tracks are the first 3. As expected, "Bliss in Concrete" hits you hard and heavy, which is fine for an opening track, and the music is intriguing enough that it stands out from similar sounding bands with a good churning melody and a solid sound. "City of Echoes", the title track has great development, and the heaviness factor is lifted allowing the music to breath a lot more, and by the end, you welcome that muddy bass sound that drills its way into your head. "Spaceship Broken - Parts Needed" has a humorous edge to it as suggested by the title. There is that distinctive dual guitar sound, but the faster beat gives it a more uplifting feel, and the guitars feel more like they are interacting together instead of battling each other.

"Winds with Hands" starts to see a weakening in development and a lessening in the momentum that the band was seeing on this album. It is an acoustic number with a slight symphonic edge to it, but nothing really develops out of it, and as it seems to be building to something, it falters by adding a droning style that seems out of place. "Dead Between the Walls" returns to the sludgy sound of previous albums that even with it's shorter run time, just seems clumsy and uninteresting to me. Even the softer part in this track doesn't really add anything to strengthen it. The uneven drumming from the past is evident on this track too. "Lost in the Headlights" isn't anything really special as it just sounds like a heavy metal riff in need of some lyrics. There's more uneven drumming and uninteresting melodies in "Far From Fields" that again sounds like it is looking for vocals. "A Delicate Sense of Balance" just meanders jangly along at the speed of a dirge.

I applaud the effort Pelican made to try to bring more lightness and variety to their sound, but they forgot to bring enough interesting passages and melodies with them, and, after the first three tracks, everything just sounds like backup for songs that were supposed to have vocals added to them. Anyway, the albums gets away with 3 stars.

TCat | 3/5 |


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