In only five years, David Walters (The Echelon Effect) has cornered a section of the market to the extent that he’s become the exemplar. His brand of post-rock is upbeat, ebullient, positive, and crisply mastered. While others operate in this field – including those who have been around longer – nobody does it better or more consistently. Part of the reason for his success is that he’s usually his own boss. Another is that he’s not afraid to take risks (The 23-minute EP Seasons Part 4 being the prime example). But the main explanation is simple: he makes solid, engaging music, again and again, and his name can be trusted.
Atlantic was the first part of a diptych; Pacific is the completion. Travel and perspective are the recurrent themes; the albums were inspired by intercontinental journeys. Psychologically, Pacific seems the more adjusted of the pair. The protagonist is no longer leaving something behind, but headed toward something: a new land, a new home. The nostalgia fades while the excitement builds. The first hint: the glockenspiels of “Visitors on the Bow Wave”, which when paired with the title imply sunlight and dolphins.
This brightness of tone continues throughout the album, whose tracks grow longer once the attention is captured. “Watching Over the Headland” slows it down a bit, making room for foghorns and a boat slicing slowly through the water. The final minute is lovely, just glockenspiel, foghorn and waves. The ambient “As the Land Sleeps” arises from this stillness, setting the album up for a strong finale, which it finds in the two longest tracks: the languid “Under the Golden Gate” (finally, land!) and the confident “Garden Highway”. As the journey shifts from sky to sea to road, we imagine even greater adventures.
While we wait for the physical release of Atlantic/Pacific, we have only one request to make of the artist: a brighter cover. Mosaic‘s cover was stunning, but the current covers of Atlantic and Pacific are dark and difficult to distinguish from one another. Please consider a colorful aerial view; see Earth From Above for inspiration. As for the music, we expect we’ll be playing it until the physical copy is produced, and then we’ll be playing it some more. (Richard Allen)