Constants

If Tomorrow The War

Written by: AP on 04/01/2011 19:55:49

Since my reservoir of enamoring preambles is running a little low at the moment, I thought I'd kick this review off with a fun fact: after producing their second EP "The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril", Constants began shipping their show around in a '66 passenger bus converted to run on waste vegetable oil in order to become strong proponents of sustainable, green touring. Shit, if that doesn't make them the post indie rock equivalent of eco-metal bands like Gojira and Wolves in the Throne Room, then some band must exist in the obscure confines of the genre who trek to venues on foot, heaving their equipment in backpacks, and use solar powered generators in order to create the necessary electricity for operating lights and the like. Ironically it also turns out that Constants did, in fact, record this album, "If Tomorrow the War", at a barn built in 1776 that runs entirely on solar energy.

So, with the sun itself collaborating on the album along with Andrew Neufeld of Comeback Kid and Sights & Sounds, and Mike Hill of Tombs, one might expect the result to be appropriately epic, flushed with lofty, shoe gazing post-ness and celestial brilliance. And this is exactly the kind of imagery that "If Tomorrow the War" evokes with its vast, progressive soundscape consisting of ludicrous amounts of reverb, a deluge of ringing melodies, and gripping reciprocation between crescendo and diminuendo. Its defining character - the ability to use every Hertz of spectrum for additional, booming percussion, brittle, lingering guitar notes and ethereal ambience - owes no doubt to the genius of acclaimed producer Justin Broadrick, who prides himself on huge sounds, but enormity aside, Constants offer little in the way of original ideas.

Inspired and talented though the band may be, with the explosion in the popularity of post-everything in recent years, bands like Constants come in legions. The regrettable consequence is that while "If Tomorrow the War" provides all the essentials for bludgeoning and Siesta alike, it achieves little beyond what the average talk-of-the-town post-rock band hasn't already tried. Had Constants chosen to remain an instrumental act, their love of gargantuan texture would undoubtedly cement them as a leading player in that scene, but with the formulaic and entirely unimpressive vocals adapted from hardcore as well as indie, Constants manage to sound like the less gifted little brother of bands like City of Ships, Sights & Sounds, Tides of Man.

So, while a relaxing and, at times, devastating listen, "If Tomorrow the War" ends up somewhat underwhelming, its potential undermined by well-worn vocals. As such, it comes across as the identity crisis of a band unwilling to shed their emo anchors and set sail for the oceans before them. Constants have the map, tools and know-how but lack the courage to potentially alienate segments of their fanbase in exchange for carving out their own, cavernous niche.

7

Download: Your Daughter's Eyes, The Sun, The Earth, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
For the fans of: Caspian, City of Ships, Sights & Sounds, Tides of Man
Listen: Myspace

Release date 09.07.2010
Make My Day Records

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