Release DetailsLABEL The Mylene Sheath
RELEASED ON 7/13/2010
posted on 7/2010 By:
Bands from Chicago tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves so often, and so shamelessly, and our overall scene is a lot busier in the underground than many people realize. Although none of our bands copy each other too closely in style, there is an odd, intoxicated looseness that they all exude which appeals to locals more than anyone else. Angel Eyes shares many traits with this city, mainly how the most beautiful sights have an inner turbulence and massive stress roiling just under the surface. Midwestern is not unique, but it is extremely well done, and has been a truly taxing labor of love to deal with.
Angel Eyes shares a foundation with acts such as Callisto, Caspian, and Isis, bands who raise a wall of sound to great heights only to demolish it, but Midwestern is tireless in its forward motion, and effortless in its movement. Comprised of the title track divided into four parts, the connective membrane is an echoed, gracefully sustained radiance that goes from ponderous to bright with the simple addition of drums and vocals to break the mostly-instrumental, heavily guitar-based mood. There is less space between the crescendos, and the segues that lead to each are just as strong as the true apexes, making for very little downtime to trudge through before everything inevitably erupts back to life after periods of dormancy.
With the first and last two parts running seamlessly into each other, the album feels more like two long tracks instead of four, but in this case it turns out to be a cool thing. The first two tunes are actually quite lively even when the pace slows to a relative crawl, and that constantly stoned and slightly perturbed vibe comes floating off those riffs like a lungful of white smoke, but the third track starts out with a much more laid-back, hungover atmosphere throughout its first half. After an increasingly more active build, they thrash along for a bit then jump into some tremendously thick sludge, pulling back briefly into a more Minsk-like percussive break followed by more crunchy power chords which contrasts nicely with the soft, mellow opening of the concluding fourth song. The most atmospheric and varied of all, it travels great distances between calm serenity and barely restrained rage while never pushing things too far in either direction, bristling with white-noise guitar and sonorous reverb while scant electronic elements dart in and out throughout an unfortunately anticlimactic, tediously drawn out ending. There’s not a melodic, clean vocal to be heard, and the tense screams of Todd and Brendan appear out of nowhere to disrupt the spotlight shining on the guitars in fairly one-dimensional, but fittingly steel-fisted style.
Aside from the final track fizzling out in noisy flavorlessness, the majority of Midwestern has a terrific energy to it that maintains a high level of interesting, cascading riffs, helped greatly by Ryan (no last names, dudes?) laying down one seriously commanding drumming performance that I’m sure would pique the curiosity of those who wonder what Pelican might sound like with a more enthusiastic method of percussion. An album that revels in misery and enlightenment alike, it was a pleasure to spend time with something to just forget about all the bullshit this city has to offer, and remember what great things this town still gives us in order to help keep the balance. Not mandatory, but definitely noteworthy.
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