Meniscus

War of Currents

Written by: DR on 24/12/2011 23:53:57

Australia is currently threatening a post-rock scene that's about to explode, with the likes of Tangled Thoughts of Leaving and Sleepmakeswaves releasing some of the genre's finest albums in 2011. But the well runs deeper than that. The latter's label, Bird's Robe Records, is also home to a few more promising bands, two of which I will be reviewing shortly. Firstly, enter: Meniscus.

Earlier in the year Meniscus released "War of Currents", which is, remarkably, their debut full-length. In fact, they have only released one thing so far: an EP in 2007 that was met with critical acclaim. Four years waiting for an album is a long time, and the genre will obviously have grown over such time, but "War of Currents" shows no signs of sounding dated, or of this quartet having missed a beat. Instead, it's clear that Meniscus have been slowly working on perfecting their sound.

As it is their debut full-length, a few hitches are to be expected. Here, these aren't necessarily drawbacks so great that they are detrimental to the overall impression the album has on the listener, more in that the album, containing six songs, can be divided evenly up into the very good songs, and merely the very decent.

The opening one-two of "Room 3327" and "130" are impressive executions of no-holds-barred, forceful instrumental rock, but it lacks an edge to set from those who have come before and done it better, such as God Is An Astronaut and And So I Watch You From Afar. Meanwhile, closer "Infant" clocks in at over eight minutes long, and again it is impressive, but its crescendo feels a somewhat underwhelming end to the album.

The positives, however, are certainly very positive. While still striving for that crescendo - something they do in almost every song - the end of "Immersion" sees the band gain that aforementioned desire for an 'edge' by juxtaposing the forcefulness with cinematic, soaring guitar lines. Also, the build up of delicate acoustics and piano work is utterly sublime and captures the listener in the build up to the crescendo. "Fight Club" carries the momentum on with a relatively short and sweet track, boasting a sweeping and searing climax, while the deliberately subdued nature of "Cursed" expertly creates tension, and then releases it with an excellently pounding rhythm section supporting the electronically-warped rise before the inevitable eruption.

"War of Currents" sees Meniscus take an interesting approach to post-rock, yet not an especially original one. You can quite clearly hear the outlines of their influences, although these influences wouldn't typically go hand in hand with each other, so for Meniscus to have combined different corners of post-rock, seamlessly so, is certainly impressive. At its worst it is still interesting, and at its best it is post-rock excellence.

Download: Immersion, Fight Club, Cursed
For The Fans of: And So I Watch You From Afar, Russian Circles, God Is An Astronaut
Listen: Bird's Robe Bandcamp

Release Date 15.07.2011
Bird's Robe

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