Caspian

Tertia

Written by: DR on 27/12/2009 12:13:27

Post-rock is one of the easiest genres to perform well within; as long as you have your drums, bass and rhythm guitar combining to form a sort of base that allows your lead guitar to build towards climatic soundscapes, the songs will sound decent. However, post-rock is undoubtedly one of the most difficult genres to excel within, particularly as the field grows older and more and more bands ply their trade in it. For instance, the only bands to have come through in the past few years and make a real name for themselves are This Will Destroy and, of course, Caspian.

"The Four Trees" was a highly impressive debut, and not only did it establish them as the best new post-rock band in town, it declared them as equals with bands who have been going for a few years more. For that reason, "Tertia" was always going to be the most anticipated 2009 post-rock release, it was also going to be one of the most interesting. Could "Tertia" pick up where "The Four Trees" left off? Could they push their sound to new territory? Or would it be a case of the debut being so good the second album never really stood a chance anyway?

Oddly, it's a little of all three. Unlike so many of their contemporaries, they are being ambitious by not settling for the 'safe', and that undeniable quality that Caspian possess duly shines through. But here's the kicker, it only shines through on occasion. Particularly during the second half of the album; that's when the ambition is met in equal measure by the quality. The first half - phenomenal, Sigur Ros-esque "Epochs in Dmaj" aside - is barely decent. From "Concrescence" on, it's Caspian at their sparkling best. From the gentle and delicate calm of "Concrescence" to the guitar-driven soaring of "The Raven", fitted with acoustic bridge. It's everything we have come to adore in post-rock.

There are moments that are too good to suggest Caspian's ambition won't pay dividends one day, and in a big way. The one fault with having such a superb debut is that fans will constantly hold it up as a benchmark, and as a reason to bash following albums, but I'm going to come right out and declare that there is no way we have heard the best of Caspian yet. "Tertia" is merely Caspian experimenting, as is necessary for any band looking to truly further themselves. It's a shame though, that their ambition didn't quite pay off, because if it had "Tertia" could have become a milestone, perhaps even a watershed for post-rock.

Download: Epochs in Dmaj, Concrescence, The Raven, Vienna
For Fans of: This Will Destroy You, Explosions in the Sky, pg.lost
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 11.09.2009
The Mylene Sheath

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