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Album Reviews

…And So I Watch You From Afar – Jettison

 

 

 

Release Date: 18.02.22

Record Label: Velocity Records

For Fans Of: Delta Sleep, Mogwai, Tricot

 

Belfast’s lords of all things grandiose team up with Arco String Quartet and visual artist  Sam Wiehl to bring us Jettison. A multimedia piece that tests the limits of the album format.  An especially brave move when you consider Jettison is their first release on Equal Vision  records.

Feet hover over fuzz pedals for the entire first half of this record, holding back the  inevitable wall of distortion in a sophisticated manner not seen on previous releases.  Tracks like ‘Dive Pt2’ and ‘In Air’ concentrate much more on a kind of vaporous melding  between guitar and strings. Restraint is most definitely the order of the day here. A  restraint that leaves room for the string quartet to slither its way in and out of each track. A  freezing, thawing and melting away effect that successfully links the instruments together  in a kind of seasonal embrace. Drummer Chris Wee’s playing is, as always, a particular  highlight. Seemingly unable to play a bar that’s decidedly Post Rock, Wee brings a  signature Talking Heads meets Zeppelin rhumba to tracks like ‘In Air’ and ‘Hold’; turning atmosphere into groove in something akin to alchemy.

The second half is a different story however. Submerge onwards sees the return of tried  and tested ASIWYFA. A move no doubt welcomed by loyal fans, but something of an anti climax. Although there is a lot to admire in the space,  fragility and control of the album’s first half, tracks like Emerge and Jettison seem to be  well worn fuzz-offs that struggle to bring new ideas to the table. The moment of crescendo  eventually spilling onto the canvas in Submerge just seems to hit you like a Smart Car  instead of the high speed locomotive promised. That being said, the guitars sound fresh  and raw here. Gone is the prerequisite delay/reverb blanket present on previous albums.  Instead, they stay dry, hard hitting and nimble. Splintered, spindly and resembling the  barbed wire lacerations of Sonic Youth at their most acrobatic.

It is evident that Jettison is a record of two very individual halves. While the second may  be more energising to loyal fans, it’s the first half, broad and unencumbered by the laws of  gravity, that really screams cinematic. A mixed bag, but definitely an interesting milestone  in the band’s career.

Rating: 7/10

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