02 Nov 2022 - Knut
Post Rock | Dunk!records & A Thousand Arms | Release date: 04 Nov 2022
Is this a goodbye from the band as the title indicates? Surely, it cannot be! Not from a band who four years after their last album shows that they yet again are on top of their visionary creativity. This new release takes the listener from gently ethereal sonics to thunderous passionate crescendos. It feels more like a musical contemplation of the separations we all have had to endure these past two years and the farewells we have had to say, and how all this has affected us.
Almost twenty years after their inception in 2004 in Barcelos, Portugal the band shows for the fifth time that they are highly relevant on the Post Rock-scene, even if they have a name that translates into ‘unworthy’. They are definitely worthy of our full attention as we get immersed in their musical art that elevates passion and contemplation. Their previous album umbra was written and released in the wake of the sadness and despair after devastating fires in Portugal in 2017. It was raw with anger and despair. This one is released in the wake of the pandemic and comes as a thoughtful reminder of what we are still going through apart from all the other turmoil surrounding us.
”A Noturna” opens the pensive album with its ethereal ebbing and flowing of delicate synthesizers gliding slowly forward, accompanied by distant echoing drums. Out of that current of sonics a gentle melodic theme is taking form. A delicate piano appears and it grows heavier until stretching out into a vast, foreboding soundscape before it becomes the ethereal opening of the next track.
Yes, the second track ”Devolução da essência do ser” really has a delicate opening in the form of a soft clean guitar that has a bit of a twang and leans towards a melody with the slight whiff of a folk song over a slow, deep rhythm. The track is over 14 minutes long and the elongated opening grows and grows with the clean guitars becoming darker and darker before echoing, high-pitched guitars appear in the background. The bass takes the lead to build the track with heaviness and to prepare for a high-pitched, distorted guitar to call forth crescendo sonics and a turbulent, yet melodic, soundscape before slowing down using echo effects to induce the sonics with vastness of longing. Alongside these echoes, the track floats forward as it is contemplating which direction it should take after having left the first part. It finds footing and the pace gets faster, the string-plucking guitars gliding into a heavy and glissading crescendo filled with layers of guitar sounds to build a melodic immersive wall of sound. Eventually, the massive sound evaporates and the track turns into elongated sonics with a careful tremolo guitar echoing over a slow-paced rhythm and a vast melodic synth-made soundscape.
The second track drifts into ”Em qualquer entranha” - a three minute long tender meditation with neo-classical piano above fragile synth effects. ”Urge decifrar no céu” then has the trademark violin taking the lead playing a beautiful, at the same time raw, melody above a tremolo guitar and slow rhythm. Accompanying each other, the guitar and violin rise a bit to create an opening, letting in some fresh air before heavy distorted guitars crush the fragile structure while they are being joined by a choir. Now you really get immersed in what their music does to you: the fearlessness, the gusto, the relish, the delight. The seemingly endless crescendo lifts you to the yearning cinematic passionate sonics. Just as you begin to think it is too much, these masters of compositions let the heaviness fade away to make space for some string picking and sounds from the violin that are joined by ethereal female vocalizing to close out the track. What a vehemence!
After this emotional fourth track it is quite a relief when the ten minutes long ”Sempre que a partida vier” opens with a delicate and pensive violin and guitar. A certain yearning for something drips from the violin. A beautiful melodic theme soars upwards. The pace becomes a bit jazz-themed with string picking, but soon it swings towards Post Rock. As the violin returns it lays own a beautiful veil of sound over the other clear-gleaming instruments. All instruments join to assemble a crescendo embracing the violin. But every good thing has an ending and the music quiets down to open for layers of emotional violin leading the album to its close.
Another thing that I think is remarkable on this album is how the drums are almost unnoticed, but at the same time crucial to each track and each turn of the melodies. It is restrained and effective. It seems as if the drums in the background are looking after the other instruments, keeping the pace, opening space and leading them towards each other. Can drums give an ethereal atmosphere to music? Yes, when done like these here.
So, four years after their last album, indignu have again showed that they are incapable of making an uninteresting and inferior album, as their band name might suggest. I myself discovered them with their second release and immediately bought their first, and of course all that came afterwards. I was one of the lucky ones who saw them at Vivid Post Rock Festival in 2019. They left the audience stunned with a captivating performance. And they do so with this new album. It is worth the four year wait.