One can trace the evolution of Birmingham, Alabama quartet In Snow via their Bandcamp page: a promising demo, a fuzzy live EP, and now a debut album. We’ve heard these songs evolve over time, and each step has been more surefooted than the last.
Guitarist Christopher Suda is also known to our readers as loveislight, but In Snow sounds nothing like that sampledelic act. This is post-rock, solid and true, with what one might consider a double influence: GY!BE is the obvious one, down to the Scriptural quote that leads off the album, while the other is math-rock, which leads to a lot of four bar repetitions. The longer tracks, “HAJJ” in particular, are the most effective, although the shorter tracks contain the most memorable riffs. At nine minutes, the track caught in the middle (“Red Towers”) has both, including one that might be considered In Snow’s signature passage. It’s a fine mix that might end up paying huge dividends over time. The biggest challenge will be to escape the shadow of older bands, which will require taking some risks.
But let’s return to “HAJJ” for a moment. The piece combines post-rock with a near-sludgelike mentality, enabling it to plow forward on thick legs. Since the guitars stay back in the mix, the riffs seem subdued, preventing them from over-saturation. If anything, the repeated bass passage sticks clearest in the mind, a soft anchor that makes its first major appearance just shy of the five-minute mark. The album’s other extended track, “Our Rusted Father Sleeps”, continues in this manner of expression, adding uncredited strings for a deeper level of emotion. The title track and brief closer contain promising themes that might work even better incorporated into longer compositions, which is clearly the strength of the quartet. “Red Towers” builds to its central idea; the shorter tracks have no choice but to jump right in. From this point on, we expect the band to progress from steps to strides, and look forward to the next phase of their evolution. (Richard Allen)