Reviews Pelican March into the Sea


March into the Sea

What's the point of an introduction? They really just delay the reader from getting to what they really care about: the actual review. I could dilly dally around here with a brief synopsis of the career of Pelican or bring up a humorous anecdote about a run in I had with an actual pelican one summer. But it would be all for nothing, because who really cares. So rather than waste any more of your time, resulting in you yelling at your computer screen for me to "get on with it," we'll jump right into the review of March into the Sea.

Things begin in the familiar fashion we have come to love from this band. The guitar duo of Laurent Lebec and Trevor de Brauw set the foundation of the first track with their complementary styles - one lays down thick and sludgy guitar riffs while the other weaves intricate melodies throughout. One evident difference from Australasia is that the overall movement of the song is much more upbeat, that is to say it moves much more quickly. As the song unravels, you can make out slight changes in the song structure; movements of jam-oriented rock even begin to surface at times. The transition between segments is done with the utmost perfection, quite a feat when you're moving from stoner-metal infused with Larry Herweg's double-bass to simplistic post-rock passages. It is in these more basic movements that we are given the chance to see the true talent and musicianship of these band members. In particular, I was really glad that you actually make out the bass playing of Bryan Herweg. In most bands of this genre, the bass is buried somewhere deep in the background. But throughout "March into the Sea" you can always hear him driving the song along towards its end. It is in a fury of pounding drums and heavily distorted guitars that we come to the song's conclusion, or so we are led to believe. After the deception of a false ending, things get particularly interesting. Pelican take things in a different direction in their use of primitive instrumentation. Here the band engages in the use of acoustic guitars and compliments their sound with very faint piano and slight electronic noises humming in the background. This beautifully constructed portion of the song gets even better as a very subtle flute solo, of all things, enters the equation - Jethro Tull eat your heart out. Following this highly unexpected yet tasteful incorporation of the flute, the song dwindles as the acoustic guitars and piano fades out until we are left with a long holding tone of the background noises with just a pinch of feedback.

For the second track on this EP, we are treated to Justin Broadrick's remix of "Angel Tears." Broadrick tinkers with things and what comes out is something not unlike what we've heard on the Jesu full-length. The core of the song is still there, but over the bombastic drumming and guitars Broadrick has added a significant amount of swirling noise effects and synth sounds that give the piece this indescribable aura. Toward the latter half of his reinterpretation, he's added in programmed beats and an array of effects. These blend perfectly with the material he's used from the original composition, giving it such a great feel and sense of character. Whether he is creating his own music or remixing others', there is little this man can do wrong.

It's rather difficult to find a flaw in something as brilliant as this EP. One might be inclined to complain that it is "just an EP." However, I've heard full-lengths that weren't as long as this, so that argument is dead in the water. March into the Sea is a stunning display of Pelican's musicianship and demonstrates that they're going to continue to shed the label of being nothing more than an Isis clone.

9.0 / 10Michael
KFAI - Undead
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