Epilogue is the Blueneck album that many people have wanted, but that few expected. Over the course of three previous albums (and three gorgeous Christmas EPs), the band had slowly drifted away from the world of instrumental post-rock into the world of clean-cut vocals. While some saw this as a natural progression, others lamented the change; there are only so many bands who do post-rock well, and it would have been a shame to lose another one. But then Epilogue arrived, inspired by the band’s separate work in the soundtrack field. The album serves not only as a present for the band’s oldest fans, but as an elegant coda for the band’s first phase. The fourth album (due next year) will be another departure, and there’s no telling where it will go; but this album leaves us excited and intrigued.
Right from the beginning (“Apogee”), the listener knows that this is Blueneck: the muffled voices; the steady, single-chord sustained piano, balanced by bass; the rising strings; the regal drums, the hint of glock. No one else sounds exactly like this, which is one of the reasons we hope Blueneck preserves some of these elements. It’s difficult to develop a signature sound, so it’s wise to build upon it. The album contains all of the elements fans have come to associate with the band, who typically chooses class over obvious crescendo. Blueneck curves into its climaxes instead of crashing into them; they arrive at 2:47 of “Carina”, in the opening of “Colonization – Incident 2”, and at 1:41 of “Symbiosis – Part 2”. These high moments find contrast in the quieter sections, which for Blueneck can last an entire song (“(eta carinae)”, “Symbiosis – Part 1”, “Colonization – Incident 1”). In terms of transition, they’ll get to it when they get to it, and not a moment sooner.
When listening to “Suppression”, one feels a touch of sadness, wondering if this will be Blueneck’s final instrumental song – the long, languid goodbye. We hope not. But Epilogue teaches us what we already should have known: that while Blueneck needs to push forward in order to stay relevant, the band has not forgotten the sound that made it famous. Thank you for this pleasant surprise. (Richard Allen)
Release date: October 19