24 Oct 2021 - Simon
post rock | Release date: 22 Oct 2021
Polish post Rock group Yenisei have created a wonderful example of creating music with a story to tell
Yenisei were a metal band with a problem, their problem was a long and fruitless search for a lead vocalist. This situation changed when Rafael Piniaz came and played keys with the band. Whilst they were searching for a vocalist, they were making music to keep them going, they realised quite quickly that the addition of Rafael on keys was the missing part of the puzzle, ditched the idea of being a lead singer focus metal band and instead dived into making instrumental post rock, and the world is ever so slightly a better place because of this decision.
Their debut album The Last Cruise was very well received in Post-Rock circles and gathered rather nice acclaim. In the build up to their follow up album, the pandemic hit and derailed theirs (and everyone else’s) plans for 18 months. They used the time to knuckle down and push themselves to create the best album they could, the result is Reflections. An album created during the pandemic and directly influenced by it, it’s about looking inwards and seeing what was lost, the yearning for simpler times and the slow drift towards losing ourselves to the digital world.
Opener “Gravity” serves as a gentle ambient introduction which leads seamlessly into album standout track “Waves” where we get a taste of the band’s innate brilliance in the use of dynamics. Guitar licks clash against each other creating a maelstrom of chaos one minute then flattening out into the calm of a receding wave on the shore the next. It really sets the stall out for what these guys can do and is a glorious introduction to the whole album.
Next song “Aftermath” with its gorgeous clean guitar melody and driving rhythm section is seriously uplifting, and whilst not quite as dynamic as the first song, it’s still no less great because of that. After all, not every song needs to be overly dynamic, as rather counter intuitively, if every song followed the same pattern this could create a problem of its own, but the band are far too skilled for that to be an issue here. The inward soul-searching continues during “Bitter Cold” which has a souring, guitar led mid-section featuring yet more stunning guitar, synth and bass interplay before collapsing in on itself with a quieter finish which melds into the utterly beautiful “Abandoned” with its fantastic piano melody dancing on top of a stunning bedrock of lightly strummed guitars and feather light drumming.
The rest of the album does not let up with this quality, be it the lovely bass focused “Blurred Horizon” or the much more up tempo “No Escape” which pushes the guitars again back to the front. The interplay between the guitars and the stunning synths on this song really are a thing of joy. The explosion of sound after a beguiling set up on “Memories of Times Before” is another example of the top tier song writing skills on show from this band.
In setting out to make in introspective album, Yenisei have created a joyous, beguiling, dynamic listening experience. I found myself being drawn in and falling down their expertly crafted ode to yearning, and more than once thinking about the good old days of pre mobile phones (yes, I am showing my age here!) and of having fun with my friends. This really is a stellar album and displays a grasp of creating a strong thematic album which some bands can only dream of. It has everything you could want from a Post-Rock album and comes very highly recommended indeed.