The last few DMST albums represent some of the most convincing, powerful and moving post-rock work since God Speed You! Black Emperor hung it up. While their earliest releases were sometimes a bit derivative and overtly self-conscious sounding, "Other Truths" moves faultlessly through multiple states, shifting through changes that are interrelated and mutually illuminating, always moving, always sounding like a single whole. Untrammeled gestures touch the essential elements of calm, agitated, monumental and understated episodes. When "Do" collapses from an almost offhand simplicity into a cavernous, deep and detailed semi-drone; when the chorus of "Say" jitters in and out of layers of highly articulated background; when the solitary guitar of "Think" persists in devolving to a lush, distorted and pitch-bent close you're hearing some work that is the unique property of DMST. They clearly still pursue ideas few others are even aware of, exhibiting a disarmingly subtle formality of both structure and content. Possibilities and innovations explored and applied with such devastatingly affecting polish in harmonics and in timbre that would make an explosion in the sky sound more like cap guns at 100 paces. "Other Truths" is a standout album from a band which, year after year, sets itself farther apart from the often narcissistic doodles of many and varied post-rock pretenders.
Each DMST album has offered us something different, a new variation on concurrent themes. From the jazzy, space-rock of their debut, the band have taken us on a sonic journey through moonlit ambience and laid-back grooves, rousing ballads and, occasionally, crashing climactic noise; all the while maintaining a ubiquitous sound that sets them apart from other "post-rock" bands, despite the fact that DMST do not fit so comfortably into such a pigeon-hole. So, with album number six, can we expect a change of direction? In short, no. And, depending on your mindset, this can be the strength or weakness of Other Truths. In many ways, the band here distil a sound that has been present in their work since the folk-rooted, sweeping anthems they offered on "Winter Hymn..". Taking elements from this and all the rest of their repetoir - concentric beats, horns, hushed vocals and mix-desk trickery - the band refine their familiar sound into something more complete, something expansive and more involved. The prevalent mood here remains warm and wholesome, but still with enough emotion to stir, breathing life and freshness into each of these long, long tracks. "Say" and "Make", each clocking in way over the 10 minute mark, stand as some of their most inspired and moving offerings in recent memory. The album's opener - Do - bounces along with an upbeat energy that could make it a contender for "the single", if DMST were that kind of band. But, thankfully, they are not. Do may be the least original track on offer here, but these four tracks are best viewed as a complete piece, as is so often the case with the genre. And for post-rock die hards, the climax of "Make" reaches searing heights that recall the apocalyptic beauty of their dearly-departed countrymen Godspeed You! Black Emperor. While Other Truths does not completely rewrite the rulebook, for genre or band, it does serve us a reminder of everything - and I mean every single thing - about this band that makes them great. It would make as good an introduction as any for the first-time listener, and following a rare spate of live performances last year, reminds aficionados that after 10 years, this band is definitely still at the top of their game.
I saw them on their tour of a couple of years ago and was suitably impressed, and bought their then current album 'You you're a history in rust' on the strength of it, which is OK but not what I'd heard at the gig. I can only assume that a fair proportion of that set came from this album, as I find it a great improvement on their previous work.
The tracks Make & Say stand out in particular, imagine mogwai at their finest with an 'atom heart mother' brass section...