“F*** Post-Rock, and f*** being called Post-Rock!”
When This Will Destroy You’s bassist/keyboardist Donovan “Dono” Jones veraciously proclaimed this during an interview with The Boston Phoenix, it left a sour taste in my mouth. Not the good kind of sour, like when you’re sucking down a Warhead candy lozenge, but the bad kind. Is this a bad label? What is inherently wrong about being associated with behemoth contemporaries like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sigur Ros, or Mogwai? Did I miss the memo? Have I fallen asleep for eight years, and suddenly awakened in a perilous world in which Explosions in the Sky or The Appleseed Cast were somehow trendy and unoriginal? It doesn’t make sense, to be honest, and just for sleight of hand purposes, I will slap that “Post-Rock” sticker right on this band. You know why? Because they are. And you know what? It’s not a bad thing. So, with two incredible full-lengths (I’m calling Young Mountain a full-length), and a mediocre EP behind them, TDWY return with the long-awaited Tunnel Blanket. And yes, it’s Post-Rock at its finest, baby!
Opening track “Little Smoke” is definitely something different. It showcases the band’s shift into new territory with a shoegazy “noise” approach. Both chaotic and melodic, the cymbals clash, and the guitars groan; seemingly making a statement that begs the listener to hear the waves of sound coming at them like a swelling torrent. This is the least bit engaging in the comfort-sense, but is more likely to engage the thrill seeker, begging for the next adventure. The journey is anything but short-lived, as the track is a lengthy 12:05 roller coaster; about the length of a pop-punk EP. An interesting change of pace occurs in “Communal Blood”, which lets the dark ambience envelope the listener in a meditative state before building in incremental crescendos. Quite possibly the most compelling track of the album “Killed the Lord, Left for the New World”, abandons all presuppositions in order to make way for experimental effects and haunting samples, combined with their fluent instrumentalism. TDWY seem to be dancing on the border of Iceland; within the realm of their contemporaries Sigur Ros. Musically reminiscent of their now-defunct predecessors, the instrumental rockers from the other side of the world have emulated the same experimentalism, and have done it with success.
So, what’s the problem? Staying power, or lack thereof. When the band released Young Mountain back in 2006, they seemed destined for greatness. Their sound was so addictively charming, that the online music website, “The Rock Sound” gave them album of the year honors for their debut, and rightfully so. The only issue with edging outside the box, and into a world drenched in experimentation is that it’s just not as gripping. This is a band that has pushed the envelope, and branched outside of expectations, and into another realm. However, they seem to be a bit lost in the abyss, as some of the later tracks lack substance and structure. I’m sure they intended it this way. However, it’s hard to keep coming back to Tunnel Blanket, but This Will Destroy You must be commended for their brevity.
Maybe they aren’t very “post-rock” after all. Touche.
2. Glass Realms
3. Communal Blood
5. Killed the Lord, Left for the New World
7. Black Dunes
8. Powdered Hand
This Will Destroy You was formed by guitarists Chris King and Jeremy Galindo, bassist Raymond Brown and drummer Andrew Miller in San Marcos, Texas, in 2005. They had met through mutual friends, and played together in various different bands throughout high school, before the line-up was finalised by around 2002. Early iterations of the band experimented with vocals, sung by Galindo, but after recording some tracks they decided the results were “awful” and didn’t fit in with the rest of their music. The band then tried writing different tracks, one of which was instrumental. ... read more