Release DetailsLABEL Graveface Records
RELEASED ON 4/8/2008
posted on 6/2008 By:
Like Isis. But instrumental. And not as good.
Seriously, that’s about all that needs to be said about Reverie, the second album from Germany’s Daturah. It’s another album with little to say in a genre that increasingly has nothing to say. About now you’re either nodding your head in emphatic agreement or leveling the old "if you don’t like the style, don’t review the album" argument. Hold your fire, friends. I’ve given plenty of post-rock/metal/whatever bands some very flattering reviews. But not so much lately. Fact is, the style that sounded so creative and exciting in the early part of the decade has been cloned and watered down so substantially that now most bands are offering nothing more than repackaged, creativity leftovers. This has been exacerbated by the overall lightening of the part of the genre that typically resided on the metal side of the fence, in order to merge with the more genteel crossover sounds of the indie side of the game (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, etc) and has seen genre heavyweights Isis and Pelican deliver more accessible and somewhat less satisfying recent efforts. Reverie is a product of the post-rock zeitgiest and a victim of its own blueprint.
A single spin of Reverie offers nothing the least bit offensive. Unfortunately, it also provides very little evidence of imagination, originality or innovation. Still, my first impression was that Daturah plied a reasonably decent brand of instrumental post-rock (yep, yet ANOTHER instrumental post-rock band), and thought that repeated listens would unlock the album’s subtleties, or minimally help digest the twelve to thirteen minute compositions. But after half a dozen listens, I still don’t feel any closer to the material. It’s ironic that the promo material describes the music as "cinematic", because Reverie scrolls by unobtrusively like credits on a movie screen.
Daturah does do well with crafting nicely sculptured layers, and there are passages where their melodies are quite promising--most notably during "Deep B Flat" and opener “Ghost Track”—but truthfully, each song has substantial glimmers of quality. But since the band insists on sticking to the marathon length songwriting approach (yet another genre constraint), they have trouble making these convincing central themes stand up with further exploration for twelve minutes. It’s the same old ideas, the same old melodies, the same old ethereal ebbs, the same old cathartic releases (except they’re fewer). This music lives and dies by its ability to ensnare and connect with the listener through dynamic passion and intensity. And when the same old playbook is trotted out with only average creative stylings and a minimal stamp of identity, the music’s not going to have its desired effect, regardless of its musicianship or production. It simply fades into the background. And that’s what Reverie is to me--pleasant, competent background music to be enjoyed passively while I’m paying attention to something else.
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