Reviews Pelican City of Echoes

Pelican

City of Echoes

Yeah, the guys in Pelican are busy dudes. City of Echoes is the band's third full-length and seventh record released since 2001. I admire their work ethic. For those of the initiated, Pelican is an instrumental outfit that tends to get lumped into the "Post"¦" categories (see post-metal, post-rock) along with bands like Isis and their ilk. To be honest, City of Echoes is a pivotal album for the band in my eyes. Their first album, Australasia is a great record. The next EP, March into the Sea is awesome. Their last album The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw is good but a bit of a disappointment for me. So, with this lain out on the table, I approach City of Echoes with a jumble of emotions: excitement, wariness, anxiety, etc.

City of Echoes begins in a rather unassuming manner. "Bliss in Concrete" has some movements that lean heavily on pop sensibilities, a new development for Pelican. The pieces of the song that do not have these elements seem much heavier, when in reality, they are vintage Pelican. "City of Echoes" sounds like a pop or "indie" rock song without vocals when it first begins. When the band bears down, it works to great effect. However, it still maintains that conventional song quality and structure. I think this would make a hell of a song if it had vocals put to it. If the band would opt for a more dramatic dynamic level when the "heavy" parts occur, the mood would be enhanced a bit more. The melodic quality of the title track is excellent and something that is hinted at in previous recordings by the band.

"Spaceship Broken-Parts Needed" is a mellow track at first that does build in intensity. It continues the structure and sound quality found in the title track while managing to sound rather triumphant and upbeat. "Dead Between the Walls" really has a nice groove. This track is the most like the Pelican of old. The guitars just roll seamlessly along their path while the rhythm section maintains a steady pace for the whole of the proceedings. "Far from Fields" has some pop sounding hooks hidden amongst the more "indie" rock sounds. It seriously is missing just vocals from making this a more rock oriented track than the "post" tags that get attached to Pelican on a regular basis.

The changes that Pelican seem to showcase on City of Echoes are startling. I am unsure how I feel about them. Change is obviously good; but, on early listens of the album, I definitely am not a fan. Most of the songs are concise and have a measured brevity to them, at least for Pelican. The more that I listen though, there is more that I appreciate about City of Echoes. Ultimately, this is probably an album produced by a band in transition.

6.0 / 10Bob
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