Why Aren't I Home?

Written by: DR on 24/12/2010 16:31:58

There's often a (mis)conception about post-rock that it's pretentious or boring, no doubt due to how some bands can create twenty minute songs, half of which doesn't sound like much of anything. But, in recent years there's been a definite increase in bands within the genre who have taken the best of it, shortened the songs into four, five or six minutes, perhaps added in a few outside influences, and come out the other end with something that's not only accessible to your average fan of the genre, but to others too.

Now you can go ahead and add Athletics to that list.

Even if you still wouldn't consider yourself a fan of those 'less-pretentious' post-rock groups, Athletics have stumbled on something that could (and should) appeal to you. The colourful guitars are in place, ranging from soaring to the crunching and heavy - affirming my stance that they are very much a post-rock band. However, they're rarely caught wasting time with long drawn-out build ups - the album runtime is only 45 minutes with only one song hitting the six minute mark - they like to get straight on with it, setting a quick foundation before going all-out in their quest for emphatic, yet exquisite, walls-of-sound. Exceptions to this come in songs such as "Fairview", which are kept short and sweet and handled with an understanding of how to keep instrumental tracks interesting that surpasses their tender years.

If that hasn't yet convinced you, their inclusion of vocals might. I've heard many bands try and be Sigur Ros by adding vocals as another layer to their texture, making them airy and unfortunately hard to distinguish, which usually ends with them getting the way. Not Athletics, for they actually include vocals - the vocalist has a range and lyrics and emotion and everything. In "August" he's tortured; "It's Night It's Enough" he screams to send the track into heavy-mode; In "I Am Withdrawal" he partially adopts a raspiness reminiscent of Charlie Simpson (Fightstar); in opener "Why Aren't I Home" it's his sudden surge into high-pitched, powerful cries that forces the track towards a crescendo.

It's overall a good performance from Howie Cohen, for when you add those vocals and interesting enough lyrics to the musicianship you get something that sounds original. I mean honestly, who doesn't love the prospect of tempermental vocals influenced by alternative bands like Brand New and even early emo bands combined with glorious, metallic soundscapes? Even if you don't generally like post-rock you have no reason to not listen to "Why Aren't I Home?", especially since the vocals make this seem like a fusion of the genre with the alternative genre.

Basically, Brand New meets Moving Mountains. Are you licking your lips yet?


Download: The Cost of Living, Why Aren't I Home, I Am Withdrawal
For The Fans of: Moving Mountains, Brand New, And So I Watch You From Afar
Listen: Deep Elm Page

Release Date 03.11.2010
Deep Elm Records

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