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Stubborn Tiny Lights vs Clustering Darkness Forever OK - The Infinite Regress CD (album) cover


Stubborn Tiny Lights vs Clustering Darkness Forever OK


Post Rock/Math rock

4.09 | 3 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars One of the longest band names i've come across in the world of post-rock, such monikers inevitably beg the initial question of where exactly did a particular artist find it from so first things first. The monstrously multi-syllabic STUBBORN TINY LIGHTS VS CLUSTERING DARKNESS FOREVER OK? actually comes from a very likely source, namely the liner notes from Godspeed! You Black Emperor's excellent 'Yanqui U.X.O.' which also gives a hint as to what the music sounds like! You guessed it however this band that formed in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 2008 isn't just a mere clone although the chamber rock gloominess and darkened atmospheres surely do bring Canada's best known post-rock act to mind.

The band really started out as nothing more than a bunch of like-minded musicians getting together in a stinky once-flooded basement so they could make a bunch of noise. Many of the members had already played in the band Followed By Ghosts and were comfortable within the post-rock paradigm and STUBBORN TINY LIGHTS pretty much is a continuation. What began as a twelve member ensemble was slowly whittled down to a six piece for the band's first and so far only album THE INFINITE REGRESS which debuted in 2010. The band members go only by their first names of Kyle, Tom, Andy, David, Lindsay, Ethan, Jordan, Emily although a few full names are detectable from the previous Followed By Ghosts band but i won't blow their cover.

After honing their skills in an abandoned denture factory which nicknamed The Tooth Factory, the band moved over to where four of the members lived and revamped the basement so that they could record THE INFINITE REGRESS. Much like most post-rock, STUBBORN TINY LIGHTS begins with repetitive cyclical loops that slowly unwind and build up into more freeform jams that crescendo. The chamber rock atmosphere does indeed bring the lauded Godspeed! to mind however the music unfolds more like the less frenetic bands Explosions In The Sky or Mogwai. The band engaged in an extensive touring process and became somewhat of an underground hit in the Midwestern post-rock infatuated states that border Iowa.

THE INFINITE REGRESS just clocks in two seconds over the 56 minute mark yet only consists of four tracks, the opening 'Riverrun' and closing 'Familiars' both in the eight to nine minute range while the second track 'Sieve Of Eratosthenes' reaching 18:27 and the champion of extended post-rock enjoyment 'Through Valleys' which goes on for over 20 minutes however the latter sort of fizzles out around the 13 minute mark and sputters along for a while before transmogrifying into a completely different sounding track. The album is practically instrumental all the way through but a few scant vocals do occur. The dramatic effect is very much in tune with the orthodoxies of the Godspeed! strain of post-rock yet what STUBBORN TINY LIGHTS lacks in overt originality more than makes up for in outstanding deliveries of the goods.

Firstly, this band really knows the art of slowly ratcheting up the proper tension to disparate crescendoes and how to milk the glory without inducing ennui. As with the best examples in post-rock, STUBBORN TINY LIGHTS understands the nuances of the chamber rock ensemble and each instrument finds its perfect role which in this case includes guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and violin. The melodies are beautiful yet haunting and the mid-tempo drive that ratchets up incrementally is perfectly timed. Add to that the production is perfectly executed with beautiful atmospheric backdrops becoming dominant and then drifting off as if a violent storm has come to wash away the grime and left the bleakness of reality with a sign of hopeful resolution. This is a brilliant album despite it's eminent influences hanging prominently on its sleeves. The band never officially broke up and still plays together by request but a second album has as of yet not materialized despite rumors that new tracks have been in the making.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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