Do Make Say Think have left their stamp on the post-rock scene, starting from their debut, self-titled album, released in 1998, to the excellent Other Truths in 2009. It was with Other Truths that the band decided to take a break, never officially breaking up, but rather the individual members taking some time to pursue different projects. Thankfully, this came to an end in 2012, when the band met again on stage and started discussing the possibility of a new album.
Stubborn Persistent Illusions is the long-awaited new record of Do Make Say Think, recorded with the unchanged DIY ethos of the band from 2014 to 2016, and it signals the end of an eight years wait. Primarily, this is a record that opens up some passageways to the past. Not so much in that the band revisits earlier works, trying to recapture a previous glory, but in that it brings back the freshness of the late '90s and '00s wave of post-rock music. The exquisite ambiance, the ethereal melodies and the meticulous process of constructing and structuring music. As all great post-rock acts, Do Make Say Think perceive the music as a building process, starting from the foundations and slowly placing brick upon brick until a towering result is produced.
It is the handling of the dynamics that makes this process meaningful, and reveals how good a grasp Do Make Say Think have on the intricacies of the genre. They are always moving linearly from one part to the next, creating a strong narrative with their music, overcoming their instrumental setting. Switching the intensity from the quieter and more minimal, ambient parts gracefully to the powerful and majestic moments, they add a sense of continuity not only from one moment to the next, but from one track to the next.
By using such a layout, and with this handle on the dynamics, the band is capable of adding textures to their work. Stubborn Persistent Illusions presents an emotional canvas, being revealed as a tapestry of sonic additions bound together. This sonic palette is also extended by the trademark incorporation of horns, as in “Horripilation” and “Her Eyes on the Horizon,” presenting more hazy moments amidst the heavy process.
Do Make Say Think, at their very core, have always been a guitar driven band. But that does not mean that they fall into the trap of appearing monotonous, a trap that a lot of post-rock acts fall into. The band is nicely morphing through the tracks, switching the tone of the guitars, and also taking advantage of the bubbling characteristic of the genre. What separates Do Make Say Think in this endeavor is their creativity, and even when their leads become talkative, they always retain a degree of sweetness, as in the fantastic ending of “And Boundless” and the excellent “Her Eyes on the Horizon.” It also speaks to the togetherness of the band, and their technical aptitude. Even though they are not perfect, and there are slight issues in their performance, they keep tight, and they do not hide behind flashy effects.
It feels like all this is a result of the DIY ethic that the band follows, something that has infected their structures, their composition and arrangements, and the rich textures they incorporate within. However, it is the production that ties it all together nicely. Without appearing pristine, it is exactly the sound Do Make Say Think need to thrive. Sweet and clear with the more melodic and ambient parts, and gritty with the heavier moments. It completes an excellent return to form.
8.0 / 10
Instrumental music, Ive found, requires patience to fully appreciate it. Sitting through detached, quiet parts of songs is by no means difficult, but it can definitely test a listeners musical ...
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