Glorie‘s self-titled 2011 debut introduced us to one of post-rock’s most promising new voices. Two years later, the Memphis quintet’s follow-up continues the excitement. The band’s most original aspect is the presence of two players on vibes, which meld sweetly with the keys, guitars and drums. Thanks to the help of an invaluable string trio, the band becomes an octet, deepening its sound while offering a keen maturity: emotion and intellect melded in the service of a higher cause. The orchestral sections, especially the finale of “Run Away”, provide some of the EP’s finest moments, as the listener is plunged from one field to another. But the overall composition is also to be thanked; a tempo shift late in the opener takes the listener by surprise, crying out for a rewind.
While most EPs are simply short collections of tracks, Falling is carefully constructed, with a creamy center: the 40 b.p.m. “Smoke”, which curls stealthfully at the EPs core, a dragon in wait, languishing between the walls of more aggressive tracks. As the title track edges its way from the embers, it does so with the determination of a traveler in sight of his goal. The same may be true of Glorie, a band poised to leap from the post-rock outskirts into the fray. The door is still open in post-rock, but no longer wide ~ those who seek entry must prove themselves worthy. Glorie’s strength continues to be its confident energy, but its saving grace is its accessibility. While other bands continue to break barriers in length, Glorie prefers to remain compact. Only one track tops five minutes, and barely.
“Sunshine Then Nightmares” is the strongest selection here, wisely chosen as the preview track. The instruments assert themselves swiftly and effectively; the main melody is established in the first few seconds, by the 20-second mark the piece is in full swing, and the first major transition occurs just before the one-minute mark. This track proves that ponderous buildups are unnecessary: get in, get out, get on with it. Could such an approach be the salvation of post-rock? Perhaps that’s too much to ask. For now, we’ll simply state that Glorie has avoided the sophomore slump and that its adaptable style – from orchestra pit to concert hall – may be the prelude to even bigger things. (Richard Allen)
Release date: March 6