Release DetailsLABEL My Pal God Records
RELEASED ON 9/1/2006
A Pyramid For The Living
posted on 9/2006 By:
The instrumental side of Neur-Isis-core and post-rock – depending on who we’re referencing exactly – is home to notable groups such as Pelican, Red Sparowes, Tides, Russian Circles, Windmills by the Ocean, The Photographic, et al, and Chicago’s Del Rey. So if you fancy any of the aforementioned groups, although the latter certainly aren’t newcomers as A Pyramid for the Living is their third offering via My Pal God, then you’ll most likely enjoy the latest full-length from this versatile, inspiring quartet.
Del Rey can be compared to a subdued Isis, at times, though I’d be lying if I claimed that A Pyramid for the Living doesn’t come across as an instrumental melting pot. For example, the first few minutes of opening tune “Olympus Mons” recall the laidback, drifting nature of Isis and Tides (circa From Silence), yet like their peers, DR seem to always have a destination in mind but pursue it at their leisure. Eventually, at 3:30, the tension and momentum accrue suddenly and without warning until the song is cruising at full speed. Even in background listening the drumming stands out – a result of well-placed fills, entertaining passages, and good ol’ know-how. Plus after hearing this record in its entirety, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that the group employs a double-kit attack during certain parts of their live show.
“A Brief Strangle,” “Lamplighter,” “Stemrick,” and “Euphrates” all put in a full day’s work, especially when weighing the fact that their individual lengths range from eight to a whopping 12 minutes. It’s during “A Brief Strangle” that the immaculate production becomes most noticeable – crispness of the hi-hat, subtlety of the keyboard, and the overall together-but-separate instrumentation. As is often the case with bands of this particular style, Del Rey paint a picture of water-related imagery almost effortlessly. And again, similar to their colleagues, the ability to craft riveting music is undeniably there, even if not always out in full force.
Maybe that’s where A Pyramid for the Living struggles to stay afloat, some will say. Long songs paired with a propensity for wandering isn’t the best combo for an impatient listener. While the recording does feel mapped out, Del Rey prefer to meander rather than take the shortest distance between two points. For me, that’s all right because APftL is not only another entry in a subgenre gaining incredible clout, but a fine effort at that.
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