Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We Arrive Alive - My Friend the Bombmaker (Review)

We Arrive Alive are an instrumental post-rock band from Dublin, Ireland. Although they lack most of the subtlety of greater known post-rock giants like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Explosions in the Sky, their music is more accessible. Despite how that may have sounded, I don't mean for that to come off as a knock on this band. As much as I enjoy Godspeed You! Black Emperor, I don't always feel like committing to a single, hour-and-a-half long recording. We Arrive Alive (WAA)  play a brand of post-rock that has a quicker tempo and more condensed song structures. I would say it's closer to a band like Russian Circles in style and structure (especially more recent Russian Circles material).

On this, their second release, WAA sound surprisingly focused. The title track starts things off in notably upbeat fashion. Drums come in heavy and aggressive, mimicking the rhythm established in a brief solo guitar introduction. A guitar bridges loud, percussive bursts with a sliding effect that makes the drums sound as though they're charging up. It's small details like this that let you know WAA aren't messing around. The song frequently shifts dynamics, eventually winding to a conclusion accompanied by a backing horn section.

"Dachau" follows and is easily the most downbeat on the EP. With a title like "Dachau", I'd be surprised if it wasn't at least a little less bombastic than the title track. The drums play more of a traditional, backing role here. This particular track is the closest this EP gets to the aforementioned Godspeed You! Black Emperor brand of post-rock.

The rest of the release keeps with the sound established on the title track. "Zombies" appropriates the "loud quiet loud" dynamic to great success. It's 3.5 minute run-time is utilized with maximum efficiency. "A Lethal Black Ooze" is darkly captivating, complete with primal, distorted pounding that abruptly closes the EP.

Perhaps the most startling thing about this release is it's relative obscurity. It may be the lack of available material or the age of the band, but they definitely deserve more attention than they currently get. At the very least, I hope more music is on the way.

Verdict: 84%

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