At The Soundawn
posted on 5/2010 By:
Shifting is the album that I actually prefer to The Ocean’s recent Heliocentric as a mellower take on post-rock, also bringing to mind the likes of Day Without Dawn and Tides.
What gives Italy’s At the Soundawn a little character is the excellent use of the saxophone amid their often artfully shimmering hues and occasional crescendos of crumbling post-rock. The sax isn’t overused, but adds a sultry element to many of the moments, combining for a surreal, dreamy album of post-rock elegance.
Things actually start pretty sternly with “Mudra: In Acceptance and Regret.” But the track's first sax-laced ambient segue (a few minutes in) shows a band confident with blending delicate streams of acoustics, saxophone and soulful clean vocals into something that’s full of tangible emotion, rendering the material accessible--but still metal. The same can be said for the likes of the excellent “7th Moon.” The track starts with some decent rumbling and harsh vocals before easing gently into some breathtakingly beautiful textures, mostly in part to the sax and Luca De Stefano's Steve Austin-channeled growls and well-done singing. Most of the tracks do take a more common route, with a more deliberate, delicate build into post-rock ebbs (“Caofedian,” “Black Waves,” “Hades”) and, of course, the purely clean track (“Drifting Lights”). And with the longest song (the superb closer “Prometheus: Bring US the Fire”) being nine minutes, the album rarely wanders, holding your attention throughout with a wide array of moods and textures.
In all, Shifting is a sublime and beautiful album that might fill the void left by Burst’s breakup, but in a slightly less metallic form.
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