Sunlight Ascending

You Don't Belong Here EP

Written by: DR on 22/12/2010 02:50:10

At some point over the past two years I became introduced to, and subsequently infatuated with, the post-rock genre. To thank for this, there are three albums: Sleepmakeswaves - "in today already walks tomorrow", This Will Destroy You - "Young Mountain", and Sunlight Ascending - "All The Memories, All At Once". This is relevant because it informs my hopes for Sunlight Ascending's follow up EP, and prelude to their up-coming LP, "You Don't Belong Here". "All The Memories..." remains an excellent debut that has only got better with time, so to say I was hopeful this young band could build on that instantly without going through the cliched 'shophomore slump' would be something of an understatement.

In my previous review I mentioned how bands of this ilk are influenced in their sound by their surroundings, often nature, and this applies here, too, unsurprisingly. Sunlight Ascending have taken this influence one step further with the four tracks each representing a season, beginning with Winter and ending with Fall (I almost cheekily renamed this "Autumn", amirite non-Americans?). Each season is in brackets, with what's presumably the story being 'told' as the actual title, for instance Winter is "(Winter) Diorama Dream".

This EP is one for experimentation, and boy do they experiment on "(Spring) This Was Your Place". It's the shortest song, thankfully, so the jangle-y dripping of the guitars, which are so out of left-field, don't upset the balance beyond the repair-ability of "(Summer) The Golden Plain". Rolling drums, melodic guitars soar, and when that song picks you know it's SA at their best as they're creating uplifting, beautiful soundscapes - it makes the eight minutes it takes to get from start to finish fly by.

"(Winter) Diorama Dream" swirls ala Mogwai, leading off into a post-metal influence wall-of-sound, before closing with a brooding screeching crescendo, and then back into the post-metal influence. That influence is then brought up again on "(Fall) Old Friends Part Ways"; even throughout the periods of quiet/loud that same alarming guitar rings: even as the wall-of-sound it looms in the background. All that they build with that fades, and out rise delicate intricacies and acoustics out of nowhere to close the song and album off. It's such a sudden change, but because they have such an understanding of how to create soundscapes (at such a young age!!!!) they just about pull it off, managing to keep you engaged throughout the entire run-time

It both pleases and surprises me that this EP is being used as an EP should be used, to experiment, rather than just to rehash old formulas for the sake of new material. It's surprising because SA are a young band, and they're already looking to experiment this much? Three of the four songs are over eight minutes in length, resulting in an 'EP' over thirty minutes long; clearly, they are looking to progress and evolve - tackling the task of the four seasons alone would be commendable - but they've actually incorporated different and new influences in to their sound. I wouldn't say they've got what they're striving for completely nailed, but they're definitely on their way to achieving it.

If, from the band's point of view, the EP is to experiment, surely, from the fan's point of view, it is to get excited by that experimentation, yes? Well, Sunlight Ascending will not only surprise you, but excite you too; if this is the kind of ambition and progression we're going to get from these on their next full-length, that full-length cannot come soon enough.

Download: (Spring) The Golden Plain
For The Fans of: Mogwai, Caspian
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 28.07.2010

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