Just looking at the covers of Lost in the Riots‘ two albums, one can tell the difference: one is a winter album, and the other is a summer album. Not that last year’s Stranger in the Alps wasn’t fun; it was. But Move On, Make Trails is even more fun. The band bills itself as “instrumental rock/math rock”, but the tag “party post-rock” would fit just as well. This genre, perhaps best epitomized by And So I Watch You from Afar, offers contagious energy, riffs galore, and occasional wordless chants. It’s perfectly designed to be played at parties, and this one obviously wants to be taken to the beach, played next to the Kan Jam. Even better, this music begs to be taken in live; a fourteen-date tour is about to kick off, capped by an appearance at U.K. post-rock summer festival ArcTanGent ~ over 70 bands in four days, so be sure to check it out!
One of the neat things about the new album is that it wraps around itself, a fact that grows apparent when listening twice in a row. The chants of “Just Tiny Little Rocks” hearken back to the overture, “Niamh”. This is a sign that the band is thinking as well as rocking, which makes sense given the math rock flavor. A happy “Yo!” is included in the overture as well. Such interjections connect the quartet to the audience; real people are behind the instruments, and they’d love to share a pint with you. “She Can’t See Us If We Don’t Move” has a great dance feel, with drums alternately rolling and rocking; the title can be interpreted as an invitation to dance or a realization that someone has gotten lost in the riots, or at least in the pit. There’s a slowdown, but not too long: 33 seconds as opposed to the multiple-minute noodlings of other post-rock bands. This band wants to rock, as proven time and again over the course of the album, proceeding from last year’s snappy, hand-clappy single “Kong” to last month’s ACL Singles Chart pick “Hey, Deathwish”. The only real breather is the acoustic “Radiance”, a lovely guitar piece located at the center of the album. Only 1:37, it sets the stage for one of the album’s most memorable tracks, “Homecoming”, which transitions from a warm piece to a hot one in its opening minutes and adds yells and some sweet drumming in its closing minutes. But the whole album is solid ~ can’t wait to see them live! (Richard Allen)