This is a review of "Oblige" recorded by i concur. The review was written by Alexander Rennie in 2008.
CD in the tray; pen at the ready; here's to another laudable post-rock review-by-numbers... Wrong. This release has subverted my expectations, frankly, and not in a uniformly positive way.
Previous single 'Build Around Me' had led the listener to expect iLiKETRAiNS with added heart, whilst the slot at Leeds Festival alerted us to the fact that they may just have studied a wee bit of ¡Forward,Russia! in their time - something corroborated by the fact that Tom Woodhead has produced this very disc.
A quick listen to the opening bars of Oblige, however, reveals an altogether more earnest tempo from the off. There's no interminable wait for vocals, choppy drums kick in almost immediately and the jangly guitar chord progressions drive the whole thing forward pretty quickly.
The only problem with this is that it sounds like far more other bands than their previous offerings did. It's done well enough, of course, but it's not going to grab your attention in the same way. Until the last minute, maybe, when the real wall of guitar noise kicks in. This is undeniably great, but how many - after the first three minutes - will still be around to find out?
Flip side Captors is a slightly different proposition; full-on guitar fuzz from the outset, and with no sign of a let-up. It's more reminiscent of This Et Al than any other local point of reference, and to some extent offers similar bluster and lack of depth. There's an earnestness to the whole which seems ever so slightly unconvincing, but it's not an unpleasant listen. Again the last minute throws up a blissful cacophony of coordinated noise output, but only just in time to be faded out.
On evidence to date I'd suggest that the slow burning majesty of the previous offering points more firmly in the direction of what makes the band stand out from the morass. Whilst it's no bad thing to be painting from a broader palette, there's also something to be said for playing to your strengths. And this, I fear, wouldn't really seem to extend to basic bread-and-butter indie.