Four and a half years have passed since the Tampa quartet Tides of Man released their debut Young and Courageous ~ enough time for their original website to have been taken over by an actual tide chart. But now they’ve returned with a vengeance, older, wiser and louder. On the one hand, it’s a tough time to be a post-rock band, as there’s so much competition in the field, but on the other, it’s always a good time to be a good post-rock band, which Tides of Man continues to be. Every Nothing should cement their solid reputation. Their confidence is evident in the breadth of their offerings, the deluxe package including t-shirts, a poster, a guitar pick, a CD and a choice of different-colored vinyl. Fortunately their confidence is well-placed, as there’s plenty to enjoy from start to end.
The first reassurance arrived with the release of “Everything Is Fine, Everyone Is Happy,” a single that could (if pressed) actually fit on a 45. The song is punchy and aggressive at its launch and smooth and melodic in its center. After hinting at headbanging, it backs off a bit before attacking at full force. And then it’s over, leaving an impact that makes its title seem like prophecy. All told, there’s nearly an hour of such music here, never content to sit on its laurels, always morphing into another post-rock dream. Melodies abound, but so do crushing riffs. “Static Hymn” starts so sweetly that it’s a surprise to hear the drums come crashing in at 2:44. With the template being set, it’s a little less surprising (but still as enjoyable) to hear the technique revisited later on “Old 88.” The band has achieved a perfect balance between loud and not-quite-as-loud, and will certainly tear it up on next week’s U.K. tour.
One of the aspects that continues to set Tides of Man apart from others in the genre is its ability to serve up songs suitable for radio, which in the current era also means songs suitable for licensing to trailers and TV. “New Futures” is as close to the mainstream as the quartet gets, thanks to a catchy guitar line reminiscent of “Where the Streets Have No Name.” But there’s still room for a “classic” post-rock song such as “Death Is No Dread Enemy,” which grooves along peacefully for a few minutes before coming to a near stop. We think you know what’s on the other side of the trough. The time between albums was well-spent; this band is better than ever. (Richard Allen)