I've reached the point where most post-rock albums start to sound the same. While I won't say I'm completely blasé, unless a band is pulling something out of left field, it's really difficult for a band to stand out. Alas, that is where British rockers Killington Fall find themselves with their 2011 release Keep Your Eyes to the Sea.
Don't get me wrong; it's by no measure a bad release. It just has the habit of being extremely predictable. All of the songs, while good, succumb to mere permutations of common post-rock writing tricks that you can hear in every brand from Explosions in the Sky to Mogwai. While that's not a bad thing in of itself, Killington Fall aren't doing themselves any favours by bringing nothing new to the table to stand out.
Once you get past that issue, the music is nonetheless enjoyable. The opening track, "Ghost Rockets" (which is available for free download) is definitely the strongest of the bunch. The melodies are incredibly sweet without ever allowing themselves to be bogged down in the vast dynamic shifts, and, while relatively straightforward, it stands out as being the most memorable of the bunch.
That song segues directly into the second track, "Two Surrendered Flags", which starts off almost as a direct continuation of the themes from the first track stylistically and melodically. It quickly adds some of its own distinct embellishment, developing its own personality and feel. It then quickly takes a sudden, shocking shift into its second half, where the guitars and distortion get cranked all the way to the ceiling and the band delivers their most powerful playing on the album. The way the furious, powerful rhythmic monotony plays behind the lighter lead lines is done impeccably, and to great reward for the listener.
The album then moves into the third, transitional track, "Stable Waves". The way the drumming is completely removed from the rest of what's happening, despite being much more powerful and forceful, is quite jarring to hear, and also quite effective. The delicately frail melodies that float on top of the furious rhythms create an effect akin to listening to ambient music on headphones while the thrash metal drummer practices in the next house over (except a lot much more pleasant than I just made it sound).
The closer, "Eventide, The Dark" is a solid finisher. The second buildup in the middle of the song is one of my favourite moments on the whole album. It is dragged out just a little bit, but not so much as to make it tiresome; it's just enough to allow you to experience it just a little bit longer and get comfortable before it leads into some absolutely great, cacophonic drumming and guitar interplay. The song then finishes with a dirge-like, grungy melody, before fading out altogether too quickly.
So while Keep Your Eyes to the Sea is basically an exercise in pulling every single trick in the post-rock playbook out and using them at once, it's still a pleasant listen. It's clear Killington Fall still have a ways to go if they want to stand out amongst their peers, but this album still makes a solid (if somewhat modest) addition to any post-rock fan's collection.
6.0 / 10
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