The Pirate Ship Quintet begun investigating the deep waters of post-rock during the genre’s peak in the ‘00s. Founded in 2007 the band prefers a sparse release output, which provides them the necessary time to properly prepare and mould each album they put out. Minimalist notions, longform narratives, moving soundscapes and a hint of neoclassical and jazz elements comprised the ensemble’s identity, and all these qualities resulted in their self-titled EP and their debut record, Rope for No Hopers. Today they return, seven years after the release of their debut album with another powerful trip through the post-rock landscape in Emitter.
In many ways Emitter sounds like a record frozen in time, an album that was recorded a decade ago and re-discovered today. Because the latest release from The Pirate Ship Quintet carries so much of the elusive sound of the ‘00s, with the fine minimalism of “First” and its delicate melodic input leading to moments of sheer beauty. What really aids this mode of The Pirate Ship Quintet is the presence of the cello, which adds a further layer of intricacy and complexity to the music. A prime example of this approach is “Companion”, which grants a moving and sentimental interlude from the ambient leanings and offers a fantastic transition to the ethereal post-rock melodies. The further addition of vocals aids greatly in making the cyclical post-rock essence appear that much more otherworldly and puts the finishing touch when the track explodes into its final crescendo. It is moments like that where the band explores further its neoclassical approach, offering a more introspective take on their minimalistic rendition.
However, the neoclassical influence is not the only flavour in The Pirate Ship Quintet’s arsenal. The trumpet appearing in the title track sharply breaks the dreamy spell awakened by the post-rock and classical elements and instead imposes a more mysterious sense. The bluesy, jazzy tone prevails in this instance with the ensemble moving deeper into this obscure representation of their sound, without losing any of their majestic grandeur.
Still, the ensemble does not lose track of their core identity and they continue on their post-rock route, taking full advantage of the elusive movements of their work to build potent transitions to their more devastating moments. As the peaceful sceneries build up the band masterfully navigates through ethereal melodies and their unusual instrumentation, in order to harness storms. In these instances they actually move further away from their post-rock boundaries and into the heavier domain of post-metal pioneers, in the likes of Isis, with moments like “Symmetry Is Dead.”
Emitter is a release that awakens a nostalgia for the earlier days of post-rock and especially the genre’s dominance during the ‘00s. The Pirate Ship Quintet have managed to capture all the delicacy and subtlety of the genre’s minimalism, without forgetting either its devastating form or its experimental tendencies.
7.5 / 10
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