Summary: A promising debut - confident, concise post-rock with energy and style
'From out of a haze of white noise and feedback grows a melody simple yet profound. Within seconds, the harsh background gives way to a perfectly balanced rhythm section: heavy distorted chords, pounding drums and flowing bass. The music surges with energy and drive. Before it can get stale, the piece changes direction on a dime, and we’re only halfway through the track.
This is how Echoes of the Great War, the first proper EP by Delaware outfit They Say We’re Sinking, begins. The release is short at under half an hour, but the four tracks constitute an impressive variety of post-rock stylings pulled off by clearly talented musicians.
To begin with, the production values on Echoes are really outstanding. The work done by each of the four musicians can be heard with crystal clarity, and the drums in particular sound fantastic in the mix. Moreover, They Say We’re Sinking eschews redundancy: not only do the two guitarists consistently play parts which complement each other, they often deliberately bring very different tones to each passage. It’s easy to imagine this going wrong, but it comes across well, and the overall aesthetic of the record is immediately and immensely satisfying in all but a few places.
The melodies in “Beth (Declarer)”, for instance, sound at their most reverb-drenched like they could be coming from a room down the hall, and at their cleanest are pristine. Meanwhile, “Kaph (Invocation)” shows the band’s indebtedness to post-rock legends Godspeed You! Black Emperor – the song’s early minutes have a drawling twang that I’m tempted to call southern gothic. This is however probably the weakest track on the record, slightly overstaying its welcome; the band violently tears the final movement to pieces in a finish which should have been cathartic but just doesn’t work all that well.
The remainder of the songs regain the lost momentum, consisting of the ecstatic “Gimel (The Wandering)”, and what could be the band’s best work in “Teth (The Keeper)”. It’s post-rock done right: an introspective unfolding of thoughtful melodies, complete with delay-laden e-bow and a climactic finish that really delivers to close the EP.
The guitar work is consistently impressive in terms of texture and content throughout the release, and the bass parts do exactly what need to be done - although they never go beyond laying basic rhythmic groundwork. In the end however it’s really the drumming which steals the show: powerful and tasteful, with subtle fills and a great sense of when less is more.
In all, the EP is a fantastic outing. They Say We’re Sinking shows great promise and crafts four songs that don’t disappoint. Maybe best of all, it’s free for download at their website. It’s not without its minor flaws, but on the strength of Echoes of the Great War we can look forward to great things from this quartet in the future.'
Written byApoc @ www.sputnikmusic.com
They Say We're Sinking - Echoes of the Great War (EP) (2011)