Review By Aiden Stingemore
Cathartic and soothing. Dark and unnerving. Sweeping and grand. A post-rock behemoth with more atmosphere and nuance than any active listener can imagine. TANGLED THOUGHTS OF LEAVING emerge from a series of EP’s, splits and singles with their first full length effort ‘Deaden the Fields’ – an instrumentally dense giant that really requires a committed listen to come to terms with. This may throw some off, but the effort in listening is outweighed by how different this album is. Rapid key changes, lofty track lengths and a funny way of making awkward ideas all play a part, transitioning well without the use of vocals.
From the get-go, it’s hard to ignore the seemingly random use of crazy sounding instrumentation. From the gurgling of ‘Landmarks’ and the fret buzz of ‘They Found My Skull In The Nest Of A Bird’ – it’s done well so it adds texture rather than a pretentious, intentionally lo-fi element. ‘Throw Us To The Wind’ is a winning formula for the band – off-kilter timekeeping, aimlessly beautiful pianism, triumphant chords, obnoxious tremolo, ambient noise and more presence than you can poke a stick at. Post-rock is a very hit and miss genre to me. It’s the dynamism in which it is performed that is the determining factor. It simply has to be epic and anthem-like, with rising crescendos and a suitable climax – not waddling in the dreary simplicity this genre can be noted for. With that being said, it must also strike a balance between a deliberately thin aesthetic and random for the sake of being random. TTOL are largely tasteful in their use of both elements save for ‘…And Sever Us From The Present’, which seems to be a little bit of a misnomer, in both length and interest, clocking in at a lick over four minutes, paling to the numbers that well exceed ten. It’s fairly boring, simply gritty swells over a trickling piano line. The album probably could have done without it. But I’m probably being pedantic; it’s hard to find much fault in songs that are of quality. It’s encouraging that they’ve managed a five from six strike rate of good songs.
It’s a tall order to write cohesive songs in the context of post rock, that is, vaguely well organised chaos. The group have managed an apocalyptic soundtrack that deserves every ounce of your attention. Major props.