on 6 June 2011
Maybeshewill have taken a risk with this album, ditching all use of samples and vocals that made the previous albums stand out from many similar post-rock bands. This needed to be something spectacular in its own right to stand out, and it delivers completely.
The intro tracks are reminiscent of a movie soundtrack, with heavy atmosphere and inspiring melodies. They progress seamlessly to the beautiful single Critical Distance, with one of the most memorable choruses MSW have produced.
Accolades is a welcome return to a heavier tone, whilst blending seamlessly with the softer segments of the track, a style continued until the peaceful Words for Arabella. Despite the cliched baby samples, it's a perfect showcase of the band's softer side.
Farewell Sarajevo is arguably the peak of the album and one of the greatest songs MSW have produced, an epic suite of electronica, post-rock and classical elements, progressing from strength to strength for it's full duration. The even lengthier following track Relative Minors has a more subtle progression, but effectively leads up to the album's close.
If there was any doubt that the album lacked the power of the previous two, it ends with an incredible finale in To The Skies From a Hillside. Both heavy and graceful, it closes off an already fantastic album on a massive high.
Without doubt this is my favorite MSW album so far - a much maturer, deeper work of their unique sound that's unlike any other post-rock I've heard. I can't think where they can go from here without trying something radically different again, as they've perfected what they set out to achieve.
on 12 June 2011
This is definitely the most ambitious and consistent album MSW have recorded.
Whilst maintaining their instrumental post-rock sound and keeping a lot of their signature sounds and identity, this album is a big shift in style and mood. Gone are the samples, techno-loops and excessive distortion or nagging Casio keyboards, and in comes a more delicate mature experience with string arrangements and minor chords. There is still energy, but it is more urgent and controlled. There is still heaviness, but without the chaos or ferocity. There is still passion, but it's directed into a more beautifully tragic and melancholic tone whilst rarely being quiet or slow.
Although this album provides the most enjoyable continuous experience from start to finish compared to previous efforts, the benefit of consistency brings the risk of repetition. The album certainly has a climax, but it generally lacks the variety that's found in their earlier albums. You will probably not find their very best songs on this album either, tracks made great by their dramatic euphoria from when they were younger. However, the band has clearly grown and harnessed their talent very well to produce arguably their most solid album yet.
on 25 November 2013
live they are great, this album doesnt disappoint, great rock/indie/alternative instrumental, a much underrated band with massive talent, buy it.