Monday, 30 March 2009

Review - The Appleseed Cast - Sagarmatha

The Appleseed Cast - Sagarmatha

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6 out of 10

Whilst previous albums have seen The Appleseed Cast dip their toes into the post-rock pool, Sagarmatha, their tenth album, sees them dive head first into the murky waters of post-rock. Having completely removed themselves from their emo origins, The Appleseed Cast are now free to join the ranks of delay pedal bothering, quasi-instrumental bands.

The biggest surprise of this record is that singer Christopher Crisci's vocals have taken a back seat to the rest of the band. When they are present, they're usually soaked in reverb and delay, being employed as an extra instrument or an additional texture rather than a focal point for the song. It's a standard post-rock trick, one that can be used to great effect but more often than not gets wheeled out when a band is lacking inspiration. Sagarmatha gives the impression that The Appleseed Cast aren't completely confident in their abilities as a full on post-rock band and more often than not they seem to fall back on the standard tricks of the trade. It's as if they've read the guidelines of how to do post-rock but are afraid to deviate too far for fear of failing. The whole record comes across as a little restrained, which is a shame as there are moments that stand out. 'So The Little Things Go' features guitar work that recalls The Appleseed Cast at their finest and a crescendo that any guitar band would be proud of; 'An Army Of Fireflies' is as driving and as urgent as Explosions In The Sky at their finest, benefiting from its brevity rather than out staying its welcome, as parts of Sagarmatha do.

Not unlike most post-rock, Sagarmatha plods along at a steady pace, never veering too much form the trodden path. Whilst this record has some good moments, it also has far too many dull parts, parts that just fade into the background, that merge into one another, that lack any real focus or intent. That's not to say that Sagarmatha is a bad album, because it's not, as The Appleseed Cast touch upon some moments that shine, it's just that too often do they seem content to play it safe, and stick to their self imposed straightjacket of post-rock.


1. As the Little Things Go
2. A Bright Light
3. The Road West
4. The Summer Before
5. One Reminder, An Empty Room
6. Raise the Sails
7. Like a Locust (Shake Hands With the Dead)
8. South Facing Col
9. An Army of Fireflies

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