Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 4/12
Written by: DR on 05/09/2012 22:51:22
One of the most consistently good post-rock bands is Sweden's pg.lost. First bursting onto the scene with their 2008 debut LP, "It's Not Me, It's You!", followed a year later by "In Never Out", they have managed to establish themselves and their sound in the post-rock scene. Three years since "In Never Out" was released, "Key", their third and latest LP, sees pg.lost reluctant to wholly explore new waters, instead largely keeping with the sound of its predecessors. While this results in a solid example of post-rock done 'the right way', it is also contributes to it being their weakest LP to date, despite the ocassional hints at exciting new territory (for them).
If you have any familiarity with this band, or indeed the genres they draw from, then "Key" will hold no surprises by sounding as you would expect it to. Typically, the songs last between six and thirteen minutes, with all but one song sticking to the tried and tested pattern of Explosions in the Sky-esque guitar-centric build-up concluding with an epic 'release'. Largely off-setting any banality incurred by how closely they keep to this well-defined format, pg.lost are at least assured with it, offering impressive soundscapes and instrumentation throughout. Moreover, there is enough variation in tones, themes and emotions incited in "Key" to keep your interest piqued. They draw from different corners of instrumental rock with an assured hand; "Spirits Stampede" is a colourful opener out of Explosions in the Sky's playbook, the space-y keyboard/soaring guitars used in the likes of "Vultures" and "Sheaves" suggest at influence from God Is An Astronaut, and "Terrain" has a slight post-metal feel to it akin to the likes of Gifts From Enola and If These Trees Could Talk.
Although there is absolutely no questioning the ability of pg.lost, "Key" doesn't match the heights set by its precursors. This is because by now we are familiar with what to expect pg.lost, so it's hard to escape the feeling that "Key" fails to be anything more than business as usual for the boys from Sweden. This is also why "Key" is a record likely to split fans: if you were hoping to hear, mostly, pg.lost as you know and love them then "Key" is not a record that will not disappoint; but if you were hoping to hear a significant progression in their sound after three years, it's possible you will remain underwhelmed.
Still, there are new elements to be found in "Key" that suggest towards exciting new territory in the future. The gentle, constant builds of "I'm A Destroyer" and "Gathering" are excellently poised, but the confident strides into post-metal territory with their crushing climaxes are enthralling in a way pg.lost have seldom captured before. Beginning as though descending from the heights of "Gathering" is "Weaver", the dynamics of which make it one of the stand out tracks. Rather than starting slowly and rising up, "Weaver" starts almost in full-swing with cinematic layers of piano and guitar, gradually calming down, allowing more space to creep through. When the apocalyptic wall of crescendo noise does arupt, it catches you off guard - something this record doesn't do enough of.
Download: I'm A Destroyer, Gathering, Weaver
For The Fans of: Explosions in the Sky, God Is An Astronaut, Gifts From Enola, If These Trees Could Talk
Release Date 04.05.2012
Black Star Foundation