this begins with a song that’s not unlike more of the so-called avant jazz that’s been covered elsewhere here. fredericia wouldn’t be out of place on a tortoise album.
yet, there the characteristics of only this band, even in that song. it sums them up amazingly, from the beautiful melody, quiet at first, that ultimately builds to an ocean that sends wave after wave of sound (not noise) relentlessly.
they’ve always stood as a coherent unit for me; a collective. but the elements are so fantastic, skillfully and emotionally. the guitar work of ohad benchetrit and the combined talents of the various horn players (which is most of the members) belong only to them and make the band truly their own breed. a beautiful self-contained example here, amongst every song, is horns of a rabbit.
i’ve found their ability to tell coherent stories far out-strips their labelmates, godspeed. while the latter’s music is more about atmosphere, a concept that almost annoys me, believe it or not; the former still make discernible shapes using rock structures to build and destroy then sometimes rebuild songs. you always feel as though you have traveled somewhere, suitably never in linear fashion, and could tell a lucid yarn about it.
this is music some would probably still argue with me about its purpose. where i have called that into question myself with some other pieces in the collection, this album contains a great diversity of emotions such as rock music can embody. there is, for instance, an indescribably brilliant quality to the melody that is found in the sound of rain (and the electronic analogue adapted here) on it’s gonna rain. when it segues into the final track, hooray! hooray! hooray! i think it’s the most beautiful thing they ever created.
they were aware of how popular they were by the time i saw them in 2002, admittedly in their home country. but even that didn’t bother me. the joy they derived from performing was infectious. and of their albums, this along with their eponymous first and the second, goodbye enemy airship, are the best.
there’s far more here that my mind latched onto than i had realised.