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The Fire In Our Throats....
on 31 August 2006
...Will Beckon the Thaw; a very long and intriguing title I think you will agree. In 2005, Pelican have expanded and broadened their sound; given their songs a little more variety. March Into The Sea, a shorter version than the EP appears here, which had a huge acoustic second half which was more experimental than cohesive, and the experimenting has payed off. The untitled track; `-' is entirely acoustic and is quite wonderful; filled with excellent picking and soloing. As for the rest of the album, well, you bought a Pelican album and you're going to get a Pelican album.
Long instrumental tracks that spiral, mutate and bewilder with heaviness and intricacy. The playing is indeed a lot more intricate on here; track six, Aurora Borealis is all flowing electric guitar melody and lacking the extreme brutal heaviness Pelican can exert. Autumn Into Winter, my favourite track at the moment, is more riff based chaos, and does contain some mighty riffs. There are two riffs in this track that sound too familiar; one is like a sped up version of that awesome riff from `Celestial (The Tower)' by Isis, and another is very similar to Drought from their previous album but again, sped up. The first track also has a familiar riff; the Red Sparrowes album released earlier this year, another instrumental band have a tune called `Alone And Unaware, The Landscape Was Transformed In Front Of Our Eyes' and their riffs are similar too. Is this the production of somekind of sumbliminal appreciation for other's riffs or a mere coincidence? 3 riffs in one album may be a little too close to call, especially as all three bands are closely related. I don't care really, even if they are `stolen' riffs , I like Pelican's take on them!
The lack of vocals in Pelican's music forces them to focus on instrumentation and arrrangement to keep the soungs interesting. They never fail to do so. Every song keeps you on your toes, you'd think an eleven minute song was repetetive wouldn't you? Well not here; each track evolves towards it's goal beautifully and efficiently without retreading ground or going off into self indulgence. Quite an achievement really. The closest band you can compare them to is Isis, without doubt. Isis' tracks evolve in a similar way and their sound is also quite similar,.Pelican are a lot quicker though and more intricate, whereas Isis tend to groove slowly and let their instruments breathe, Pelican never let you sit back unless a mellower section comes in, even then though the instruments are tightly wound.
The sound quality is obviously going to be good; all Hydra Head products are presented excellently and that goes for the artwork too. The guitars are amazingly clear, they are the focal point after all, the bass is mixed too low for my tastes and the drums sound great.
I'm definately going to have to let this album sink in with several thousand more listens. Like Isis' Panopticon album, it didn't grab be right away and took quite a few weeks to appreciate the intricacies and work that has gone into it
Listening to Pelican, it must take weeks and weeks to write their tunes; no riff is repeated and everyhting is different. I need to see these guys live to see how they pull it off.
Pelican are quite a special band; instrumental without being dull, heavy without being repetitive, intricate musicianship without being horrible and pretensious.