There’s something about Post-rock. I don’t know what it is. Somehow, I both love it and hate it. It’s both one of my favourite genres, and one I find most easy to deride. For instance (and post-rock purists are really going to hate me now), I can rarely tell my Mogwai from my Explosions In The Sky. It’s all just reverb guitars, rolling structure and no vocals (it really is though). Yet, and perhaps because of these limitations, when it works, it has the potential to be life-affirming – Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘s Slow Riot for New ZerÃ¸ Kanada is a seminal release. Mogwai’s recent Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, and in particular tracks like White Noise, show why the genre works, why it continues to intrigue, and why it doesn’t get boring.
So new post-rock outfits sort of have it tough in trying to win me over – it has to triumph over its uniquely chastened stylings and be something quite startling indeed. With the three songs on Rumour Cubes self-produced EP We Have Sound Houses Also, triumph they have.
Though this is a demo EP and the production quality isn’t superb (though it’s be no means bad), it still captures the grandoise ambient soundscapes of post-rock, as opening track The University Is A Factory shows. It highlights a signature sound for the group, with a long, flowing legatto string section – an aching wave of sound made by a mix of ebowed guitar, violin and viola that should be the mainstay of this kind of sound, but is surprisingly unique. Underneath is a rhythm section that wants to emphasise more of the ‘rock’ in post-rock, with intricate bass and drum work, and later a crunching riff that brings a climax to the piece. It’s both boisterous and grand, soaring and lo-fi.
Rain On Titan lets the strings take a front-seat, crafting melodies while the rest of the band easy the song forwards, dynamics climbing and crashing around them. At Sea is a slower, ballad-like affair, and while you think it’s going to remain a slow number, they can’t help it: one moment of tension, just 15 seconds long, bursts at the 4 minute mark, and for 4 beats… there’s nothing. Exceptional.
With rumours (see what I did there) that this band are great live too, I’m intrigued to hear what a well produced set of tracks these guys can put together. Get the EP for free on the Bandcamp site here.