Sunday, May 22, 2011

This Will Destroy You: Tunnel Blanket

     On a starting note, I would like to say that if you're sick of my positive reviews, steer clear of this one. This Will Destroy You's second lp is the best post-rock record I've heard in a very long time. TWDY is an American quartet hailing from Texas that formed in 2005, releasing their self-titled debut three years later. Though I would say the album falls under the post-rock genre, there are much darker, heavier vibes that run up the spine of this eight track record compared to their earlier musical output. The focus of this sound is one of dynamics. The sound grows and changes, building up to sections of very emotional instrumentation that make you stop, take heed and often wipe away a tear. Walls of sounds that carry passion and feeling wash over you and create so vivid an image that it's hard not to fall in love with it. A record to sit back and take in on your own.
     The first track 'Little Smoke' is the best on the album, in my eyes at least. The solemn and sincere opening is the the walk up a steep hill, sweating in the aftermath of war. Your legs are tired, but you know that soon you'll reach the top. A sense of dread emerges from the layered sound, a fear of what you'll discover at the crest of this mound. The war is over, but what has become of your friends? A pause in the music signifies a sudden realisation as you reach the top, and then the sound explodes. A wall of layered noise and fantastic guitars holds a depression and loss matched by very few other artists. You stumble upon the remains of enemies and comrades. Guilt. Misery. Sadness. A drum beat and volume increase crawl out from the dead, smothering a bed of noises that form screams and cries in your mind. Listening to this after losing someone is not advised, as I choked back tears through the simple stress of exams. A track that finishes as beautifully as it starts, the glitches and noise in the background become muffled, almost as though you have began to blank out the pain, in order to merely survive. Through this darkness though, the faint light of victory shines. There is a sense of achievement present in this song, seen through a realisation of the terrible cost involved.
     The tracks that make up the middle section of this album aren't as impressive though, I'm afraid. None, though good, hold the same feeling and story that the first song does. 'Communal Blood' has similar dynamics, but feels more like a draft of the first track, in most parts. There is a wonderful drum section at the end  though, which builds and builds, while never slowing until the very end., which I enjoyed. 'Killed The Lord, Left For The New World' is one of the more varied tracks in the album, introducing a more prominent melody and very organic sounding drums. There are faint noises that sound like playing children, but which aren't clear enough to hear properly. There is a sense with this song of joy, or at least more joy and relief than other tracks, which adds a bit more variety to this record.
     The penultimate eight minute monster works in much the same way as the first. There is a build up of solemnity that erupts into fantastically layered passion that you can peel apart and explore. A little too much like the primary track? I think it rounds the album off nicely, with the sound and feel  of the record as a whole coming full circle. The ending of the album is brilliant as well. Part way through this song, a distorted voice is audible. It isn't muffled, but rather so coated in distortion and noise that you can hardly understand it. This sound disappears for a while before coming back, with the sampled voice now close to the forefront of the music. The song's now understandable lyrics match the mood of the track perfectly, and end this amazing record on a spine-tingling high.
     Perhaps the fact that the only talking is on the last track is symbolic. TYWD search through their emotions and feeling to finally come to a conclusion that they express with passion. This album is a fantastic achievement that starts, tugs at your heart and then leaves it in tatters. Anyone looking for an experience, present in a piece of music that exceeds expectations, then check this out. I promise that you won't be disappointed.