Ef are an unusual band, and not just for their inexplicable fear of breaking their precious consonant-to-vowel ratio. Their take on the inexorably-expanding post-rock scene is a highly unique one, especially at a time when more and more bands are starting to sound suspiciously homogenous. And as if any more proof of their immense creativity was called for, we have their newest album, 2013's Ceremonies.
For one thing, it doesn't sound like any other post-rock record, even if the tropes it uses are suspiciously well-worn. The piano-driven melodies and soulful vocals sound right out of Blueneck, the persistent and rhythmic marching percussion comes from Explosions in the Sky, the euphoric, soaring compositions sound highly reminiscent of sleepmakeswaves and their ilk--all of the elements Ef use, individually taken, have been heard before.
But despite their derivative origins, it's the combination of these varied influences that makes Ef's music so moving, so perfectly crafted. They cobble and assemble so many diverse elements in such unexpected ways that their music sounds fresh and inspired. The way a melody can be played by a glockenspiel and cut off by ravaging electric guitar, the way heavy and dense grooves evolve into soaring, anthemic brass, the way vocal soliloquies are propelled with such weight and emotion--these are all moments that propel Ef from the dredges of bands around them and make their music so unique and memorable.
Granted, their execution isn't perfect. Sometimes, it can feel like the pieces take a bit too long to arrive at their destination, or that the quaintly scenic route they've taken goes one mile too far out of the way, or that the final arrival is a touch understated for all its introductory fanfare. But the journey is always a pleasant one, and though it might be not all that was expected, the destination is always worth the wait. The album leaves an overall positive impression, one much stronger than many of their peers, and for that alone we should be thankful.
This album isn't merely ceremonial--it's celebratory. It's a whole-hearted, euphoric rejoicing for all that is wonderful and beautiful in the world, and its ceaselessly motivated happiness will penetrate even the most darkened of hearts. That feeling of joy that Ceremonies effects in you is beyond ready description; one might even say that the emotions brought around by this album are...ineffable.
...I make no apologies for my puns.
Recommended if you like: Explosions in the Sky, sleepmakeswaves, Blueneck
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