(Out Now on PIAS)
HOW DO YOU DRAW EXUBERANCE AND MERRIMENT from the darkest corners of the soul? You might expect discouraging surroundings to surpress and muzzle the trademark of a band whose sole intention is to give some sense of buoyancy to life’s endless back and forth. Such is the ‘sure-footedness’ of this New York trio they continue to plough a singular furrow of monochrome Post-Rock that makes for another compelling dark and light listening experience. Their first record since the departure of bass player Carlos Dengler, El Pintor serves as the perfect postscript to ’10s self-titled release with unsettling lyrics and auspicious harmonies.
Take tracks like My Desire, Anywhere and Ancient Ways, all perfectly predictable yet irresistably layered with Paul Banks’ signature croon and David Kessler’s congealing riff-work. New drummer Sam Fogarino plays his part, maintaining the mood with inwardly exhaustive and galloping rythmns. Not much has changed in their world. From a darkly classic debut through assured follow-ups and moments of revitalisation, you know what’s on offer when this true-to-type trio trip into the studio.
At a shade under 40 minutes it feels like it all ends a touch too soon, leaving us to wonder what they could do if they went a bit deeper, or pursued a further sense of adventure to uncover even darker layers. But there’s no denying they still ooze class and album number five is another deliberately assertive, statement of intent. (8)