Post-rock is a special genre. A genre that thrives off beauty, sadness, relaxation, emotion, and energy all at the same time. A genre that in all reality does not have much separation between bands sounds, but can never be criticized for that because the universal sound is one that can never be tired of. A genre with very few well known forefathers and with brother and sister genres of math rock, psychedelic rock, jazz, and even drone rock, there is a lot to be admired about post rock.
Enter Chicago, IL’s Outrun the Sunlight, a progressive, instrumental post rock band with a lot to offer. Their newest album Terrapin dropped a few months ago in December, right in the grey area of 2014 where most major music outlets have already released their top albums list, rudely ignoring every good December release. Terrapin is one of those releases. Although it did not make my top fifteen, it was still one of my favorite releases of the year for its two sides: It’s lucid, beautiful, somber side, as well as its transition into a djentier, heavier, kookier side.
The first half of Terrapin highlights their progressive post rock side in the most interesting way possible. Beginning with track one ‘Laughing With Such Abandon”, Outrun the Sunlight showcases their own unique style of instrumental music with smooth and sweet riffs and melody, a bounty of sequences that make you sway to and fro, a buffet of dainty, beautiful moments, namely the section at 1:50, one that aims directly for the heart of the listener.
Another solid track is track three ‘And Every Glance Given Has Only One Meaning’, a track that channels more emotion than technicality, digging their toes deep into the sand of the beach that is post rock, the waves crashing with emotion, the sunset in the background. Track four, ‘Spirit’ is very similar in this style; A very minimalist style, almost psychedelic in its mood, a very relaxing song that gains classic Outrun the Sunlight hecticity in the final minutes.
You think you understand what the album is about until the ten minute gargantuan ‘The Pace of Glaciers’ arrives. The track begins like many of its predecessors, an emotional, instrumental journey, but soon leads in a much different direction: Heaviness. Now this isn’t to say the album turns into a death metal album, in reality the tone gets darker, there are more chugs and breakdowns present, the album just gets all around heavier with little to no warning. On first listen you think it is short-lived, but no it carries for most of the remainder of the album. Whether you find this beneficial or not depends on your tastes, but I personally don’t mind. The album doesn’t lose much of its emotional flare, it still continues with its emotion and its technicality, it merely replaces some in favor of the heavier mood.
The darkness continues to linger through the rest of the album like the radiation of a hydrogen bomb post-detonation, from the speedy, belligerent, chunky track seven, ‘Diminishment’ to the djenty, bouncy track eight, ‘Permanence’, there is plenty of heaviness, chaos, and bounce to go around while Outrun the Sunlight still retains their melody.
Both sides of the album have a lot to offer fans of instrumental music, whether you are more of a fan of melodic, emotional sequences or a fan of the heavy aspects of metal, or if you are like me and enjoy both, then this album is definitely for you.
FFO: If These Trees Could Talk, Cloudkicker, Explosions in the Sky
Notable Tracks: Laughing With Such Abandon, The Pace of Glaciers, Permanence
You can stream Terrapin below and purchase the album via bandcamp here