September Malevolence

Our Withers Unwrung

Written by: DR on 06/02/2012 22:13:06

Sweden has a post-rock scene that has been quietly but effectively bubbling with acts ranging from the assured to the promising for a few years now, with the likes of pg.lost, Jenniferever, Moonlit Sailor, Audrey, A Swarm Of The Sun, and September Malevolence, who already have two albums under their belt and look to offer another to add to Sweden's already boastful collection.

September Malevolence aren't just your typical post-rock band, though. In fact, it's probably a slight to even try to nail them down to such a term, because their sound, while based on the instrumental prowess post-rock needs to thrive, aims to incorporate a wider array of influences. There are dreamy elements, a shoegaze floatiness to the guitar-lines and folk influences in the vocals and story-telling of the lyrics. This means that they are less reliant on the build/rise structure of instrumental rock, often utilizing the swaying vocals to paint towards colorful pictures, and as such can condense their songs to around three, four or five minutes without necessarily needing to strive for a disruptive 'release' to keep the listener engaged.

September Malevolence can still incorporate a crescendo in their music, it's just not something they choose to rely on. After a brief instrumental opening and folky verse passages, "End of New Beginnings" somewhat forces a crescendo. Although it's a disappointing way to close out the opening track - further developing the folky middle section would have made for a much superior opening - it does work in at least grabbing your attention. The following "Heathen" continues to play relatively safe to post-rock formulas with guitars that are both reverbing and searing in the crescendo, but it's afterwards, as the album mostly settles into a comfortably sweet melodic spot, when "Our Withers Unwrung" reaps the benefits of September Malevolence subtly weaving styles within each other.

The folky layering of vocals adds an atmospheric edge to the musicianship, blending it in with the patterns the instruments create, with no disconnect between the vocals and the musicianship - this might not seem like much, but it's rarer than you'd think to find bands who achieve this in (predominantly) instrumental albums as well as September Malevolence have here. Efforts like "Absence", "Details of Detours" and the awesomely-titled "And For The Record, I Loved You" in particular marry melodic vocals, engaging story-telling and angelic guitar signatures that stand out as the highlights of an otherwise flowing album.

September Malevolence have created a cohesive album, not a selection of songs. This is, for the most part, a work that allows the listeners to sink themselves deep into it. Even the slightly weaker, perhaps even awkward, efforts near the start of the album are solid in a way that only an established band has the nous to achieve. Overall, "Our Withers Unwrung" is the sound of an experienced band who know their strengths and know how to play to them.

Download: Absence; And For The Record, I Loved You
For The Fans of: The Appleseed Cast, Jeniferever, Moonlit Sailor, Immanu El
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 18.11.2011
Tender Version

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