All shall be well (and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well) ~ Zwartgroen

The long name of these Dutch post-rockers is a quote from Julian of Norwich, a 14th century Christian mystic and the author of the oldest surviving female-penned English language book.  The quote continues, “For there is a Force of love moving through the universe / That holds us fast and will never let us go.”  These words possess a universal appeal; after 700 years, it’s safe to call them timeless.

We need such reminders now, as always.  In the age of anxiety, they recall us to wholeness.  The music of All shall be well carries the same combination of comfort, consolation and encouragement.  As the music washes over the listener, it fulfills the promises of post-rock, offering peaks and valleys with an eventual sense of catharsis.  These descriptions may be clichés, but pure post-rock albums are hard to come by these days, so Zwartgroen (Green-black) is a welcome surprise.  In a small way, it reminds us that good post-rock is still being recorded; fear not, your favorite music is safe.  All is as it has been and should be.  Perhaps this carries less weight than Julian of Norwich, but every exhalation of gratitude is a tiny blessing.

Post-rock fans will find some immediate points of entry.  Remember when post-rock titles were long and clever, a way of making up for the lack of lyrics?  Then relish “Let Me Steer, As I Am The Bigger Captain” and “One Day I Will Find The Right Words And They Will Be Simple.”  When looking at track lengths, one piece stands out: the 10:51 “We Are All, In All Places, Strangers And Pilgrims, Travelers and Sojourners.”  Not content with simple builds, the track revels in cross-rhythms and instrumental harmonies, guitar lines intersecting, creating cross-stitches of emotional resonance.  A glockenspiel arrives eight minutes in, carrying the listener to a gentle conclusion.

But did you want a single?  Yes, there’s one suited for radio play as well.  At only 4:39, “I Will Guide You Over Oceans And Across Troubled Lands” is a powerful piece.  A subdued start leads to an explosion of drums and a sense of hopeful energy.  Even the longer pieces possess pop elements, most notably the handclaps of the fifth track.  Accessibility without compromise is tricky, but this quintet manages to thread the needle.  Their music reflects their name.  Alles komt goed.  (Richard Allen)

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