Album Review // And So I Watch You From Afar – Gangs
I laboured over this review for a couple of weeks as I couldn’t quite explain why I liked and disliked the album in varying quantities. Eventually I managed to hammer this out.
Reviewing Belfast four-piece And So I Watch You From Afar’s self-titled debut upon its release two years ago, I made a self-indulgent and frankly unnecessary attack on post-rock, a genre I enjoy far more than I let on. My intention wasn’t so much to denigrate the post-crescendo genre as it was to insulate the Belfast quartet from its most galling excesses: rigid structure, tedious, meandering build-ups and all-too-predictable finales. For me, And So I Watch You From Afar were infinitely more exciting and dynamic than counterparts like Explosions in the Sky and God is an Astronaut – acts too set in their ways to truly be called experimental.
What I didn’t quite understand was that, for all their unique and endearing qualities, what I loved the most about And So I Watch You From Afar was their appreciation of space and volume: the juxtaposition of soft, luscious melodies with loud, vigorous riffing; the contrast between soaring, anthemic guitar lines and crushing, dissonant heavy rock. In other words, what I loved most about them were their post-rock sensibilities; their more distinctive qualities were mere window-dressing. With Gangs, however, the Ulster group have dispensed with those extreme dynamic shifts in favour of a near-relentless assault of aggressive noise and energy, and the result is a slightly jarring experience.
Read the full review at Sputnikmusic.