…and somewhere there’s clowns
I’ll be the first to admit that, for as much as I like the genre, post-rock has a few problems. Without going into too much detail, it’s laregly owing to a few common cliches and the greater stumbling block of being able to effect long-term engagement (particularly with instrumental post-rock). I mention those (albeit briefly) because it’s nice to come across an instrumental post-rock act who, by and large, avoid those problems.
Having recently discovered the label Silber Records, I took it upon myself to explore a few other titles in their catalogue. (First, the lovely China Mountain by Lotte Kestner – reviewed over at [sic]). Next up on my “hit-list” was Irata‘s self-titled debut, which I admittedly approached with equal amounts of trepidation and anticipation. Trepidation owing to the aforementioned issues; anticipation owing to Silber’s own description:
Irata dwells in the world where drone, post rock, & metal unite into a giant monster to kick your ass. Guitars, drums, bass, & saxophone form this instrumental group from Greensboro, NC.
It is, at least, a combination that sparks intrigue, as my taste for projects blending drone into the mix has only been recently developed.
Ok, so what you can expect is some well-paced and energetic instrumental pieces that appear to draw heavily on action over emotion – which for me means it rocks without draining my energy. The riffs hook easily and there’s no unnecessarily extended or drawn out builds into cinematic-like climaxes (where often – even without lyrics – one can come away with the feeling of being a tad emotionally manipulated). These guys get straight into it and give it all right there. It might be just me, but I can see this being a great soundtrack to an action movie with tons of car chases and spy tactics. And ninjas. (Yes, there is some subtle subversiveness in this here music. Also, I just like ninjas).
You’ll get the post-rock, the metal and the drone, seasoned with the occasional touch of blues, shoegaze and even a light sprinkle of Middle Eastern influence. If it suffers from anything at all, it’s a bit of a tendency for repetitiveness, but at least the pace is swift enough to be able to carry it.
I’m often fascinated by the titles some post-rock bands will bestow upon their songs. Again there’s a common tendency to issue them with unnecessarily overlong and convoluted names that perhaps serve as an attempt to better clarify the story or concept with the listener… But I’m looking at this tracklisting and I have to say I find the comparitively succint Clown Rehab far more fascinating – my imagination has run away with it already (last seen wondering about the effects of clown addiction, whether or not one who suffers from it would hide big red noses and floppy shoes in various places about the house. It might seem like I’m making fun – I’m not. Consider it more having fun with what I’m being presented with; which I actually think is cool that I can do . If one was to actually take a more philosophical approach, one might consider it to be a reference to the often implied notion that the happiness of a clown is a facade, and perhaps there is an addictive quality to maintaining that).
So there you have it, taken it on the nifty action packed level and let your imagination do some wilder things than mine; or study it all a little more deeply and find your own rewards.
You can grab Irata’s album here.