The debut from this Canterbury, U.K. based band is a pleasant piece of epic instrumental rock, though it doesn't add much to the form. Apparently with an aim of being pastoral and optimistic, rather than doomy and apocalyptic, they've just ended up failing to push boundaries. The first two tracks have decent tunes, well developed. The first in particular starts with a lovely singing violin figure, and stirs it up in traditional post-rock fashion with a melange of soft guitar and drum noise. This ends with a quite uplifting choral "la-la" tune - without wishing to say "be more like Silver Mt Zion!", I wish they'd done more of this vocal thing. But the second half of the album just isn't very interesting. "A Song For Starlit Beaches" doesn't deserve its length of 19 minutes, a meandering piece with a plaintive tune which promises a lot but doesn't go anywhere. It just stays in the same range, 4-square plodding around. Mike Oldfield did this sort of pastoralism more convincingly with "Hergest Ridge". "Illuminate My Heart, My Darling" does the rousing acceleration and big noise thing well, though we've heard that militaristic snare drumming and those "edgy" violin harmonies before from certain Canadian bands, and again it's extended unnecessarily. While post-rock doesn't have to be about scorched-earth landscapes, pastoral doesn't have to mean plain - this album brings to mind a green but unexciting bit of English countryside.
August 15, 2008