The Appleseed Cast

Sagarmatha

Written by: PP on 26/02/2009 12:14:19

The Appleseed Cast is a name I've seen popping up over the course of the years, so I figured it's about time to check these guys out both for my sake and your sake, just to make sure neither one of us is missing out on anything special. A quick google-session points out that these guys used to be a part of the "original emo" movement together with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and others, before moving onto a slightly more pretentious genre, namely indie-flavored post-rock. Then later on in their career and especially on their new album "Sagarmatha", the band decided to go for a more instrumental expression, leaving vocals either to the background or dropping them out entirely. Now I don't know about you guys, but doesn't all-instrumental indie/post-rock sound....fucking boring? If the instrumental rock/metal bands are already pushing the envelope to a breaking point, then surely The Appleseed Cast tear the envelope apart here?

Well, yes and no. Lets take the first song on the record, "As The Little Things Go", which defines the rest of "Sagarmatha" nicely. It's almost entirely instrumental with only a few vocal spots in the song, featuring extensive progression of the instruments that become louder and louder as the song climbs slowly towards the final climax, where everything explodes into an almost cinematic 'grand finale' before the song finishing up in gentle silence. In between the eight minutes that the song lasts you'll find moments referencing the dreamy ambiance of some Radiohead material - there are a bunch of bright moments where the guitar effects solidly grab your attention as well. But these are only moments, really, and for the most part the listener feels like he's a little bit lost. Similarly, the delicate keyboard melody on "The Road West" (the album's highlight) has an engaging effect, but just like the entirety of the short acoustic track "One Reminder An Empty Room", it doesn't say much to the listener, which is a theme repeating itself throughout the album, unfortunately. All songs seem to have minimal vocal interruption, and even when it does happen, such as on "A Bright Light", it's merely distant, dreamy, faded out kind of stuff that easily passes by unnoticed if you're not focusing explicitly on the listening experience.

So, while "Sagarmatha" certainly does have it's moments where it'll impress you through a well thought out soundscape, an intriguing guitar effect, or a stand-out melody, most of it just drifts by meaninglessly, seemingly without any desire to make an effect on the listener. Okay, the post-rock stuff has never really been my cup of tea, so take this review with a grain of salt, but I just can't understand how people can listen to music that conveys pretentiousness in almost every imaginable manner throughout the record.

Download: The Road West, As The Little Things Go
For the fans of: Radiohead, Mogwai, Portugal. The Man
Listen: Myspace

Release date 17.02.2009
The Militia Group

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