There’s a slight disadvantage to leading with one’s best, fullest track, as Indignu has done with “urge decifrar no céu.” One expects the entire album to sound like the (extended) single. Only after hearing the piece in context does the whole make sense, and in Adeus, everything eventually falls into place.
Post-rock fans will be delighted to learn that only two tracks are short enough to be eligible as singles in the traditional sense, the other three clocking in at nine, ten and fourteen minutes ~ that’s only if “a noturna” (“the night”) is considered its own piece, rather than as a prologue to “devolução da essência do ser,” which would make the connected tracks a gorgeous 18-and-a-half minute monster. The title (“returning to the essence of being”) offers a window into the band’s thought process. An entire pandemic has come and (not entirely) gone since the Portuguese post-rockers last appeared, and the world’s sorrow has taken its toll. Adeus (Farewell) acknowledges deep loss before encouraging listeners to go on. At first, “devolução da essência do ser” rolls more than it rocks, gathering steam as it goes, awakening from an imposed lethargy, taking inventory, becoming resolute. Late in the piece, the band slows again to a crawl, looking back one last time before the plunge forward. After a brief piano interlude, the album is ready to take off.
“urge decifrar no céu” begins with a shimmer, then the strings. The larger surprise lands halfway through with the introduction of melodic, wordless pub chants. The band writes that this section is meant to signify camaraderie, and that they hope their music might be “a beacon to bring us back together from out of the darkness we’ve collectively experienced during the past two years.” The decision was slightly risky, but it works. As one thinks of one’s mates, here and gone, the spirit is uplifted. The overall effect is similar to that felt at the gathering after the funeral, when all the right words have been said and a glimmer of gratitude has begun to poke through the grief.
The closing “sempre que a partida vier” is now freed to be whatever it wants ~ an extension of the light, an invitation to camaraderie, an expression of survival. The notoriously inaccurate Google translate offers “whenever the match comes” as the translation, but even if it’s wrong, we like it; this title implies both the communal bonding of football and the steeling of the soul for the next conflict, whenever it may arrive. As Indignu says adeus to one phase, they say olá to the next. (Richard Allen)