March 23, 2012

ALBUM REVIEW: Earthmover - First Sighting (2012)



















It’s easy to dismiss Earthmover as bandwagonists relying on the aesthetics of distorted pedals and textures, long instrumental jams, and surreal soundscapes to cop out the feel of an authentic post-rock band. Well, in the spirit of fairness, they’ve pinned down quite exactly the sonic bombast that made up the foundations ascribed to anything post-rock. But instead of drawing its strength from the shuddering noise and experiments that the genre is capable of producing, Earthmover would rather embrace the ferocious intensity of modern rock music and convert atmosphere to relentless energy. Such is the case of their debut EP, First Sighting-- a vocal-less, spaced out record that finds the band fancying prosy, multi-layered music with aggressive riffs and calculated mayhem.

On First Sighting, Earthmover keeps it short and simple: four songs (one being filler) inspired probably by an alien invasion as depicted in the album cover, its sonic assault shaping up into vaguely resembling musical structures and post-hardcore instrumentals that felt expansive as it is raw. They’re obviously inspired by bands such as Isis and Pelican, two of post-rock outsiders that fuse DNAs of rock and metal, textural abrasion and restraint, loping tempos and brooding guitars.

Earthmover’s willingness to showcase technical fluency without being overbearing in its approach warrants some attention. Flipping between noise and near-harmony, epic builds and curves—they have weird ways in coming up with sonic patterns that make listener expectations fed in full. And while there are moments of awkward transitions and pointless fillers, sometimes a result of grappling with identity, they still play the entire thing like sound board of daydreaming, letting their music do most of the talking. That makes the imperfectness in First Sighting seemed like a positive quality, and keeps our attention guarded from unwanted wandering. 

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