Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reviews - Oblisk / The Summer Pledge

Oblisk - Weather Patterns (Candy Colored Dragon)

Just one minute into Weather Patterns, local quartet Oblisk effectively set you into an ethereal headspace, with ornately pictorial lyrics of being on top of the world with crashing waves. Their second full length is a heavier, moody listen, but highlights breadth of songwriting, dips into more theatric atmospheric soundscapes and pensive lyrical territories on the interconnectedness between man and nature. Dark, fuzzy, churning, it’s facilitated by their adroit conjuring of feedback-fueled mysticism, drums that trudge through muddy jungles only to explode and accelerate out onto winding freeways, guitars that crunch and stomp and slide in head-swimming sways. We’re welcomed by a throbbing synth, a warm stretchy bass groove and singer Asim Ahktar’s distinct voice, chilly, arresting, seemingly attuned to the growling clamor of these thickly laid guitars, a voice that often weaves hypnotically between the showers of reverb, shambled hi-hats and heart-beat bass drums, a chameleon tone that drowns in the sound at one point but soars and echoes like a passing jet the next...

“On Radar” and “Epicenter” show p
enchants for rough textures, those subtly shrieking guitars underneath Nick Baran’s more iridescent, pedal stepped tones. The latter song also exemplifies the crux of Oblisk’s song formation – propulsion, Roy Elturk’s peppered, driving rhythms are enhanced by the soulful bend of bassist Dave Cheal. At it’s heart, both a meditative and exhilarating rock, treading near an undeniable psychedelic, or dreamlike inflection – exploring both the temperaments of Earth’s seasons and man’s subconscious.


The Summer Pledge - You Are You (Woodbridge)

The clasping feedback, percussive trounce, synthy flits and guitar roars of “Fences For Teeth,” the middle piece of You Are You, effectively demonstrates the Detroit collective’s flair for twinkly atmospherics, mellifluous guitars, and dream-gazer melodies spread over hard grinding guitars, onslaught drums and an overall focused sonic exertion. Never has such a tenseness felt so soothing, the way these tight picked, pedal fired guitars kaleidoscope in some post-rock jazz ballet over steady booming bass and drums that know when to go from heartbeats into piston pounds. It’s romantic, it’s soothing, it’s jolting, it’s expansive – heavy on atmospherics and drama, songs feel operatic, or even galactic, in scope. Songs range from quiet, introspective, to driving and dressy – foggy feedback swirls around in pensive meditations (“Who Are You?”) or all cylinders are firing, with buzzy vocals howled out with equaling vigor (“Lost in the Business World”). The beautiful guitar wizardry, wanderlust song structure and dreamy reverb sheen recalls the meticulous/experimentalism of post-rock, with a bit of indie and atmospheric space rock – a strong debut, strong in the sense of well constructed and well presented, but strong in its ability to disarm you like the punch of a dark roast coffee with three shots of espresso – it’s a journey.

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