Caspian

Live At Old South Church

Written by: DR on 07/02/2012 22:47:25

Caspian, one of the more popular post-rock outfits to emerge in recent years, are currently recording their third full-length with hopes to release it this year. But in the meantime fans are being offered this live album, which was recorded at a benefit concert for Amirah (a non-profit organization located in Boston dedicated to providing whole-person care for victims of human sexual trafficking). Moreover, some of the proceeds from this album are also being donated.

This is actually the first live post-rock album I've listened to, and I approached with an understandable apprehension. For other styles of music it's easy to see how they would translate their music into a live setting, because it's more about the catharsis of seeing the band in the moment, purging out songs they've poured their heart into, come alive right before your eyes. Even on a live album you can hear that without necessarily seeing it. With instrumental music, however, the transition would seem a little less obvious. You would think it'd be about trying to recapture the sound from the album as best as possible, but "Live At Old South Church" proves, if ever you wondered, that post-rock, a genre in which musicians do their speaking through their instruments, can be just as cathartic.

First and foremost, the mixing of this record is absolutely immaculate. If this was comprised of all new songs, Caspian could release it as a genuine album as opposed to a live album - the sound is that clean. Because of this, the aquatic ambience at the start of "Last Rites" sounds utterly hypnotic, drawing you into Caspian's dreamlike world. While in this world, you eventually learn that Caspian seemingly feel no pain, as throughout its run-time it is a lesson in uplifting post-rock. Each note of efforts like "Last Rites" and "Sycamore" are far more tender and feel far more sincere than they do on their actual albums.

By taking those songs and actually improving on them, by giving them a sense of genuine catharsis, those songs have a greater effect upon the listener because you can feel the emotions of the band bursting from them.

Caspian open with a ten minute-plus effort and close with one. Coincidentally, these are the two best efforts on this release, which dwarves the middle section, making it seem humbler. As a flowing piece of music it all works and makes sense - the uplifting, dream-like nature of Caspian's music endows the album with a natural flow. The songs in the middle aren't quite as affecting as the ones at the beginning and the end, but that's me nit-picking. "Live At Old South Church" does work in that it will tie fans over until their next album, and if Caspian can translate some of the emotion from this live performance into that album, then fans should be starting to get excited about it.

Download: Last Rites, Sycamore
For The Fans of: Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, God Is An Astronaut
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 10.01.2012
The Mylene Sheath

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