Reviewed by Paul S Ganney
This beautifully layered album, from the popular team from Charlotte, North Carolina, has a very atmospheric opening which leaves you wondering whether the guitar will suddenly pile in, or whether it will just act as punctuation - it's that certain that it will arrive (spoiler alert - it does). It's a bit Barclay James Harvest meets Anathema with hints of Snow Patrol and some Mike Oldfield-like figures, reminding me overall of some late '90s atmospheric rock, the breathy lead vocals being very Korgis. The guitar figures, arpeggiated keyboards and slightly non-standard drumming are very good and weave some lovely, intricate sonic patterns ("In Absentia" being a good example). It's an album that's probably best listened to under headphones in order to get the most out of and certainly to appreciate all that's going on in what (on the surface) seems so simple. This is part 1 of a diptych of EPs conceptualised to address a common theme from two different points of view. The press release says they are "dealing with things which are beyond what we can see and know, and things that we do see but can't fit into our paradigm." This one deals with some of the more difficult aspects of faith, dealing with things which are beyond sight and understanding, with the second ('Violence', due out in the autumn) slated to explore the darker corners of faith, asking "What do we do when we don't have a good explanation for difficult circumstances? And how do we think of God in the midst of things that are so obviously contrary to what we think God should be like?" That said this one still stands well as a single entity. I liked this album more than I thought I would and was disappointed when it ended after only five tracks, which is always a good sign. Part 2 has a lot to live up to.
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