Moonlit Sailor

Colors In Stereo

Written by: DR on 20/07/2011 19:11:48

Swedish quartet Moonlit Sailor have so far had a critically acclaimed career. First with their debut, "A Footprint of Feelings", and then again with "So Close To Life". Neither of those albums re-invented the post-rock wheel, nor were they meant to. Instead, they were demonstrations of how incredible post-rock-post-"The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Dead Place" can be when done right. Despite that, they've yet to explode as they clearly deserve to.

This puts pressure on "Colors In Stereo" for a few reasons. Firstly, they've been the genre's best-kept-secret for a while, so you get the feeling that if they are to explode now would be the time. Secondly, can they stick so rigidly to their established sound and still put out another great album? Thirdly, can they possibly top the brilliant "So Close To Life"?

"So Close To Life" was, and remains, an absolute master-class in the art of straight-forward post-rock crescendos without the long, drawn-out build-ups that can be off-putting for a lot of would-be listeners. Two years later and Moonlit Sailor are apparently a band who see no desire to experiment with a winning formula, which is good news for fans of that album because the follow-up, "Colors In Stereo", sounds exactly how you'd expect it to sound. However, the bad news is: "Colors In Stereo" sounds exactly how you'd expect it to sound.

Being as talented as they are, the lack of progression is rendered irrelevant when listening to an opening trio of songs as magical as "Kodac Moment", "Colors In Stereo" and "May Day". The simple instrumentation and predictable structures are exactly what this band are all about, but even though the climaxes of both songs are inevitable, even formulaic, what you can't account for is how sweeping and euphoric they are. "Freeze Frame Vision" and "Singularity" are, too, wonderful and captivating and actually create an emotional connection with the listener in a way that only the best art can.

This stubborn-refusal to experiment with what they know is why those aforementioned five songs in particular are instantly charming and comforting. They assure you, as the listener, that you're safe in the capable hands of Moonlit Sailor; this band have a handle on what they're doing, because when it comes to condensed indie/post-rock Moonlit Sailor have no peers.

By playing it safe, Moonlit Sailor have put out an expectedly excellent album in "Colors In Stereo" that will probably rank among the best instrumental releases of 2011 and hopefully get the band they recognition they deserve. In spite of this, the tail-end of the album sounds tired and suffers considerably from the lack of experimentation. You begin to wonder what would have happened if they were a little braver, if they stepped out of their comfort zone at least once as opposed to stubbornly refuting progression. Not to take anything away from this band or this record, both of which are worthy of your time and respect, and progression for the sake of it is not a good thing, but they've now mastered the overlap of indie and post-rock, beautifully so, not once, not twice, but three times. Hopefully it's time for them to move on to something else.


Download: Kodac Moment, Colors In Stereo, May Day, Singularity, Freeze Frame Vision
For The Fans of: Explosions in the Sky, sleepmakeswaves, Last Lungs
Listen: Deep Elm Digital stream

Release Date 08.06.2011
Deep Elm Records

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