Album opener "Adriatic to Black Sea" encapsulate the slow-build mentality espoused by the cream of the post-rock crop. The band sets the stage for the vast landscapes to come, shining an introductory light onto listeners just as the curtain begins to rise. Several tracks later, the ricocheting melodies within instrumental "Simple Forms" highlight both the time signature-bending elements of the band and the talents of the musicians at the helm (notably drummer Nathan Wilder; wow!).
Wilder's drums pair up again with the guitar work tossed off by Chris Crisci and Taylor Helenbeck in "30 Degrees 3 a.m." Their use of harmonics as rhythmic engines is an interesting motif throughout the album - and a far cry from the band's initial, emo-laden stirrings in the late 1990s. In fact, bring bassist Nate Whitman into the conversation and it's pretty plain to see that the musicianship is the main event here. Another instrumental take, "Branches on the Arrow Peak Revelation," clocks is as yet another highlight of the album.
The band reportedly crafted the lyrics over the course of three nights, well into the wee hours. And that's not a massive surprise. The music was dreamed up over three months, and the product speaks for itself.
While a day like today in Cleveland (Sunny! 70 degrees!) might prompt a, you know, sunnier album, do check out the new Appleseed Cast material. It's a moody beast of a thing, but the music will set your head right after 2013's late-winter doldrums.