Sound — 8
Chicago based instrumental band Pelican's third full length album, "City Of Echoes", shows us the dawn of a new era for Pelican. A band who was mostly know for intense slow build songwriting, songs averaging anywhere from eight to fifteen minutes in length, condense and solidify in this new album, and it shows a vast improvement. With eight songs spanning about 45 minutes, this album is much more condensed then anything Pelican has ever released. The title track is the only song that breaks the seven minute mark, which is a rarity for a band who only had three tracks on it's last album that didn't. Pelican proves here that they don't need to take fifteen minutes to build up tension and write great songs, and it makes the record much more listenable and enjoyable. On previous albums the songs would tend to drag on, taking their time with the listener and tending to be redundant and repeditive. Instead, on "City Of Echoes", they get to the point quickly, and still retain all their down tempo riffing and crushing heavyness. The guitars have never been better, the bass is shaping up, the only under par element in this equation that hold the album back from fully achieving greatness is the drums. The transitions and tempos aren't exactly smooth, and most of the fills and time changes come off as forced and choppy instead of natural and flowing. With the correct drumming style and execution, this album could have been even better. This is Pelican's best effort to date. By making a dense, concise album instead of a loose, bloated one, they catch the listener's attention more easliy and makes for a much more enjoyable listen.
Lyrics — 8
Once again, no lyrics, but who needs em? Unlike past efforts, where the lack of a vocalist may have hurt the band due to their excessive song lengths, there is no room for vocals here. The band's sound is as tight as ever, ebbing and flowing forth with monstrous force and crushing riffs, a vocalist would have to get out of the way or be run over.
Overall Impression — 9
This was an impressive effort by Pelican. I give them a lot of credit for making a shorter, more comprehensive record that showcases the kind of songwriting they are capable of. They show here that you can still write epic, heavy songs, and it doesn't always take ten or so minutes to do it. This is a very good record, and shows some signs that if they continue to evolve off of the progress they've made from this record, they can be capable of something truely great in the future. The material is solid from beginning to end, I cannot reccomend one track over another, there isn't a dull or unenjoyable moment to be found. This is certianly a departure from the Pelican of old, but I feel that it was a good move. Pelican has realized their potential with this record, now all they have to do is build on it. We can only expect big things from this band. I reccomend this album to fans of instrumental music, or just heavy music in general.