...And Stars Collide
...And Stars Collide
I may be a late bloomer when it comes to the world of instrumental rock, but I’m a quick learner.
Having inundated my ears with music from dozens of bands over the last couple of years and quadrupled my vinyl collection (while my wallet looks on helplessly), it’s become apparent that to stand out in this ever-popular genre you really have to make the earth shake. Coupled with living in an age where grabbing peoples’ attention is becoming all the more difficult, ...And Stars Collide certainly have their work cut out.
For a band like this to mention Explosions In The Sky as an influence in their press release is, in a way, almost compulsory. The Texan instrumentalists have certainly done their bit to define modern post-rock and are arguably as much a household name as Sigur Ros or Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Yet the second I spot the name, All Of A Sudden (sic) I sigh heavily. Far too many instrumental bands have tried to mimic what they do, and far too many have come up short. Picking out the diamonds from the mud however, is half the fun.
Some post-rock bands drench themselves in melancholy; others find themselves swamped in euphoria and uplifting major chords. With ...And Stars Collide (whose choice of moniker is making this review appear all the more grammatically incorrect, cheers lads), there is an overlying sense of intrigue within the music; an almost hypnotising aura that draws me in and without effort I find myself helplessly mystified.
The edgy opening to ’Every Step Takes Me Further From Home (Part II)’ (where the bloody hell is part I by the way?) is as joyful to listen to as the ending, albeit with a more generic filling. The subtle Pink Floyd-isms of ’See the Opening Morn’ open up to create a real tour-de-force of a song, standing out like a band on the verge of something quite special, yet it could do with better production to really open up the music.
The songs actually get longer as the EP progresses, but fans of instrumental rock are surely more than accustomed to compositions of similarly epic proportions, so the band has nothing to fear here concerning impatient listeners turning off half way through. The longer numbers don’t quite hold up to the splash of originality contained within their predecessors; ’Your Winter and Night Spent in Disguise’ again starts well, but the middle feels a little like a song being drawn out for the sake of it, never really achieving anything. Its saviour comes in the form of a sudden riff-fest that would give ‘If These Trees Could Talk’ a run for their money, becoming fiercely tense until its sudden conclusion. ’We Are None of Us Long of This World’ is a pleasure to listen to, although unlike the previous song it’s the more inconspicuous moments that shine through, with a great bassline and a wandering, calm-inducing melody to lose yourself within. The distorted guitar sounds almost out of place when it arrives, except when this band really concentrates on delivering a riff, they deliver it with gusto.
The promise that can be heard within the music of ...And Stars Collide is achingly clear. The stronger moments are fantastically edgy, whether it’s during an all out aural assault or a plaintive whisper. Certainly one to keep a very close eye on, I urge all fans of instrumental rock to pick up this EP, as there is a huge amount to get out of it. It may leave you wanting a bit more from a production point of view, but for a debut EP this is very promising indeed. A diamond this is, but a diamond in the rough. Time will tell whether they’ll find their true potential.