Here’s one we almost missed, a post-rock gem from South Korea that was released on Leap Day, adding to its elusive mystique. For fans of the classic, sprawling, muscular brand of post-rock, this may be the debut of the year. This trio creates walls of sound that spread in thick sheets, swirling around the attentive beats like a windstorm. Melodic passages worm their way into the mind, creating reference points; repeated plays bring ahhs of recognition.
In post-rock’s heyday, fans encountered many albums like this. But in the Eastern nations, post-rock’s heyday may be now. Mono is bigger than ever, and as internet saturation continues to grow, a growing number of new artists are discovering the allure of the genre. In terms of originality, there’s little to be found in these overall sounds, but the songs are what matters: gifts to those who thought such things were no longer being written. An additional appeal is the fact that the tracks blend together like a live performance, a facet less appreciated on iTunes (featuring the dreaded between-track blip) than on the physical copy (check eBay; that’s where I found mine).
Take for example the beautiful descent from the morass of the opening track to the quiet beauty of “The Walls Between Us”, like an encouragement being passed from a traveler walking down the mountain to another walking up. As the second traveler ascends, he does so with renewed hope, having seen that the goal is attainable. In post-rock terms, this translates into many interludes and crescendoes, the bread and butter that has sustained the genre throughout the lean years. In this context, Why Perish becomes a remarkably applicable title. Did we really want to lay to rest the vast breakdowns, the elongated builds, the thumps of advancing percussion? BOOM! go the drums of “Owls On The Ground”, signaling the final push. We’ve missed this. As we’ve missed nine-minute tracks like “Uncanny” and “I’m a Shadow”, which bring thoughtful consideration to the unveiling of themes: nothing too fast, everything in its own time. Yes, the album ends in catharsis. But isn’t it nice? Some may be immune to the charms of classic post-rock by now; this reviewer is glad such music is still being made. (Richard Allen)