Kwoon

When The Flowers Were Singing

Written by: DR on 10/10/2010 18:35:02

I hope you like post-rock because, boy, have I got some coming up for you. About a dozen reviews give or take, of varying quality and styles - some are as post-rock as it gets, some just share similar tendencies. First in the firing line is Kwoon with their second album "When The Flowers Were Singing", which would be one of the best genre releases of 2010... if it wasn't for the tiny detail of it actually being released in 2009.

What makes this album such a great listen is how they fit themselves quite comfortably within the parameters of the genre, clearly heavily influenced by the biggest names such as Sigur Ros, Mogwai, Godspeed! etc, but, and this is important, they have learnt to use these influences alongside their own personality to keep it sounding famililar without sounding like a lesser tribute band.

Introduction "Overture" is just under two minutes of soaring guitars; it instantly grabs your attention, wasing utterly no time in settling in or building up and instead chooses to race out of the blocks. "Great Escape" brings it down into a usual quiet build-up, which grows into an uplifting crescendo. The transition from those opening two songs into the rest of the album comes in "Frozen Bird". Textually, it's far richer than the previous tracks, much like the rest of the album that follows. The Sigur Ros influence comes through clear here, not least in the vocal department. Layers of vocals, cello, keys, guitars, a reverberating bass - a very, very nice touch, all swirl together for a climax of near-"Svefn-g-englar" proportions. There on in, your typical loud walls of sound are nearly non-existant, as they favour building through textual intimacy, which often results in sweeping soundscapes, best heard in the likes of the title track and "Labyrinth of The Deep". Ten minute epic "Ayron Norya" is the ultimate closer (I'm not counting "Untitled" as it's five minutes of static - who needs that?) it uses the techniques developed over the course of the previous eight songs to, for the first half, craft a lonely, daunting atmosphere; and, after a brief period of quiet/reflection, gathers in momentum, ending up as a thundering crescendo.

"Untitled" notwithstanding (it's not even on the album track-listing) "When The Flowers Were Singing" is a flawlessly produced and executed example of how to be influenced and use those influences to be recognisable to the listener, but still have enough of themselves to offer something fresh. Moreover, there isn't a too significant amount of time between first listening and first starting to be rewarded by this wonderful album; an album that's accessible but continually revealing isn't something often found in post-rock, either.

8

Download: Frozen Bird, Ayron Norya
For The Fans of: Mogwai, Sigur Ros, This Will Destroy You, Mono
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 10.12.2009
Self-Released

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