Sound — 9
01. "Journey Of A Leaf Boat" - This track was an excellent way to start off the next album, really set the mood pretty well I think. Unfortunately, I think the software instruments really detract from the otherwise wonderful composition you have here. The melodies and everything are really quite nice, very serene and peaceful, I like them a lot! It would be interesting to hear this same piece played on some nicer sounding VST's or synths, I think it has potential to be quite stunning. Also, I think the title is pretty fitting, I could definitely picture a leaf floating down a stream or stream or something to this. 02. "As We Walk Through Landscapes" - And keeping right up with the more upbeat side of things, we have this wonderful track! Love the heavy guitar part a lot, very dramatic and emotional I think, you should have kept it going a little longer! I think that you should have, and very well could have, evolved this into something really grand but you decided to end it to early I think. Either way, I enjoyed this one a lot, very nice piece. 03. "Bilbo" - I think Justin covered this one pretty well already, and I talked some more about it earlier so I won't go into much detail about it. So yeah, as usual, I took up synth duties on this one as well as most of the engineering (which I then proceeded to goof up). Also got to bust out the Sunn amp I had acquired that morning, but too bad the guitar we used sucked :sad: This one was a lot of fun to play and record over the Summer, and to me, it's kind of the embodiment of adventure. I'm sure Joel and Justin have their own views on what the song means, but I see the first part of the song, the soft bit, as Bilbo reflecting on his life and all the adventures he's had and the rest of the song I suppose would be him deciding to go on one last adventure or something, I dunno. Anywho, I'm pretty happy with the way it came out, and I love the main riff that we play, something very whimsical and uplifting about it. 04. "Six Towers Aside" - Excellent vocals on this one! I love the overall nice, happy feeling I get from this one. Vocals are mixed very nicely, the only thing that bothering me is that your 's' sounds are just a bit harsh. I'd recommend using a de-esser or just cutting the high-end a tiny bit with an EQ. But anyway, lovely little tune that sounds really fantastic I think; the instruments sound very nice as well. Definitely liking this one a lot! 05. "With My Heart In My Hands" - Beautiful track here, very relaxing and calming, easy to get lost in. The riff is very well played and is really nice. I absolutely love the use of the background noise of all the people talking, it's actually something I've been wanting to do in a song for awhile now ever since I heard something similar in Boards Of Canada's "Turquoise Hexagon Sun". Very nicely made. 06. "If These Mountains Could Speak" - Oh my goodness, dat buildup. I started listening to this and was like "okay, this is pretty nice, I dig it", and then the distortion kicked in and I was all like "AAWWWW YEEEAAAHH!" I really felt like blasting it as loud as I could, but I don't think the people around here would've appreciated that :haha: Very nicely composed track, and very well performed too. Instruments sounded fantastic, loved the high-pitched, tremolo picked parts a lot. Wicked tune right here. 07. "Blissful" - Loving the jazzy melodies in this one as well as the vocals (sounds kinda like Ian Curtis from Joy Division I think!). Totally digging the heavily reverbed guitar too. Very interesting change of pace from the rest of the album, can't say I can really pin down an exact genre to this, but for some reason I'm getting like a film-noire mixed with post-rock sort of feel from this, what ever the hell that's supposed to mean. I guess its just got a very mysterious sort of vibe to it, I think. Very nice, sorta groovy tune nonetheless, nice work! 08. "Reverie" - Like I said before, I'm a sucker for anything ambient so naturally I liked this one a lot. The piano in this quite lovely as are the rest of the instruments. It seems that every note and chord is so painstakingly chosen to create this very peaceful and wonderful environment. Perfect for staring out windows at the rain and contemplating life for sure. Instruments all sound very natural and the mix is great. Excellent work here on such a beautiful piece. 09. "Fool's Knoll" - Let me just start off by saying that everything you make is beautiful. That said, the way you compose and arrange all the of the different sounds and instruments you use is absolutely gorgeous. You use, it seems to me anyway with my very limited technical musical knowledge, very bizarre and unusual chords and notes together that blend in such a way as to create very unique melodies. Another thing I've always liked about your music is the way you place things within the sonic space so to speak. I love every instrument you use, from the acoustic guitar(s), the wind instruments, the synths, the ambient background noises and voices and whatever else there may be in there. To say that I get lost in this one is an understatement, this track literally transports me to some beautiful garden or something in my mind and really puts me at peace. This is powerful stuff here. Keep making tunes mate. 10. "Another Summer Fades" - Very nice introduction, and great energy once the drums kicked in. Guitar riff was excellent and sounded great as well, nice jazzy tone. Very much liking the positive vibes I get from this one, I can definitely see Summer fading and Fall coming for sure. Great simple and to the point composition and the mix is great too, excellent song! 11. "Laughing" - I really liked the vocal sample at the beginning of this, but it sounds pretty low quality compared to the rest of the track. I'd recommend trying to make it a little more subtle to and not so upfront in the mix as well. Very interesting transition from when the drums came in, to the psychedelic wah-guitar ambient part, I feel like this whole soft middle part sounds really good and is well composed. Also very interesting as the song seemed to drift from one melody and instrument to another, leaving the song without a singular riff or chorus or anything but rather its made up of a bunch of smaller songs I think, that is until the very end when that initial guitar part comes back slightly. So yeah, very interesting track overall, I guess I would've liked to have seen a more solid piece rather than a bunch of things kind of stitched together, but I think you did it well enough, and all the parts themselves were excellent, that I think it does work here! 12. "Blurry (Part III), Like Insects Drowning In Puddles" - Great tune with very nicely composed guitar parts, they're all quite lovely and very post-rock indeed. Vocals are pulled off excellently here and fit the song perfectly, has quite the melancholia sort of vibe to it. Loved the fake buildups as well, they really emphasized the softness and stillness of the whole piece. Also loved the organ a lot. Gotta admit, I was not expecting this get heavy at all but then bam! I liked how it only lasts for about a measure or so and then gets soft again, sounds really good and the riff is awesome too. Very very nice tune here, liking this one quite a bit as well. 13. "Some Questions Are Better Left Unanswered" - I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the beginning with the morse code beeps, but once the guitar came I really started to get into it. I liked the harmonica a lot, added a sense of innocence to it I think. Drums sounded great and added a good amount of energy and emotion to the whole thing, especially once things got heavy. Excellent riffs and melodies going on here, sounded very triumphant and whatnot to me. I also really liked that synth part right after the heavy bit, especially how it sounded very analogue and sorta unsteady and wobbly, very imperfect, something I love in the sound of a synth. Nice return with the second heavy part, still just as triumphant as the first, and great ending. Excellent work on this one! 14. "Untitled 2" - Our other submission. Once again, Justin covered this one pretty well already so you can just check out and see what he had to say about it. I played the piano on this one as well as engineering and recording naturally. Our first song where I'd say we all finally had decent gear to play with for a change! I just got a new Hiwatt stack which we used and we had a drum set where all the heads were actually in one piece and we had more than one cymbal and sticks that weren't broken in half! Anyway, we couldn't think of a name for this one (actually we still haven't thought of one) and there were supposed to be vocals on this as well which Joel tells me he has only recently gotten halfway through writing. Recording the kick drum on this still gave me a lot of grief and I think it sounds like garbage, but that tom fill at 3:42 always gives me goosebumps haha. Also, I was just dicking around on the piano at the end and that's why it's dragged out so long but I thought it was kinda neat so I kept it, plus I think it's interesting to hear the background noise of Joel, Justin and Nathan messing around behind me afterwards. 15. "No Monsters In My Dreams" - Excellent work on this, Hriday. Really liking the melodies here, very serene and childlike in a way, what I imagine my dreams would sound like if there were no monsters of course. The minimalist beat was an unexpected surprise, I think it worked very well and sounded great. The double-tempo piano was also a nice touch, very complex and beautiful. Hey, I though you said there were no monsters in this dream! That's kinda what that harsh bass sound sounds like to me, a big scary monster :P Anyway, it's a nice touch that works very well in an otherwise calm an serene environment. This song evolves very nicely I think, the changes are subtle but really quite dramatic. It turned into a drum & bass tune there for a minute once those faster drums came in which I thought was really cool, really pushing the boundaries of what post-rock is and can be which is always fantastic. Again, awesome work man! 16. "Monument" - This was quite a dramatic piece I feel. Very powerful guitar parts and dynamics between the drums and the other instruments. I get a sort of bittersweet vibe from this track, it's partially hopeful and at the same time it's kinda sad. Either way, it was very calming and relaxing, very nice to just close your eyes and sit back and listen to it. Wonderful production on it as well, sounds very very good! 17. "Concrete Floors" - Okay, where do I start with this one? I guess I'll just say right out that it was friggin' awesome! Absolutely gorgeous clean guitar melodies, probably my favorite on the album so far. Background and ambient noises were a brilliant touch and sounded great. I'm really conflicted about the recording itself though. On one hand, I really like the fact that it sounds like it was recorded on a tape deck in a basement or something because it adds a very unique vibe that I think really makes this song. On the other hand, I think some more low-end in the mix, like more bass and more kick, would've made it huge! That said though, don't change anything actually because it's pretty much perfect as it is. Oh, and the vocals are really quite lovely as well, very surreal and just awesome I guess. This was really just a beautiful and inspiring tune overall, you guys know how to write a song and play an instrument for sure. Brilliant work! 18. "As Dark Clouds Loom, We Must Stand Firm" - Great album ender here for sure. I think you nailed the vocals, they sounded really great and fit the mood wonderfully. Really dug the clean guitar riff as well as the tremolo picked guitar as well, very beautiful and just put me in a very happy, positive place. Drums came in nice and strong, sounded pretty good I thought. I really enjoyed when the drums got heavier and the guitar parts were jamming pretty hard over them, very uplifting and hopeful sounding. Hopeful is the overall feeling I get from this song, and maybe that's partly inspired by the title of it, and by the end I felt like it was almost hinting towards the next album. I know I say it a lot, but I really mean it, excellent job on this!
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics are a bit more prominent on this half of the album, and although I cannot understand them all of the time, the vocalists do an incredible job and all sound quite professional.
Overall Impression — 8
I feel that this second half was much stronger than the first, and personally, I prefer the more upbeat side of post-rock so I may have a bit of bias there. Outstanding musicianship on this one as well and just strong track after track I think.