The Dandelion War

Opposite Shores EP

Written by: TL on 09/12/2014 16:11:55

While post-rock is a genre that we cover more occasionally here than the full top-to-bottom treatment we try to give some genres, some of its bands draw our attention regardless and one of them has been the otherwise little known Oakland quintet The Dandelion War, whose first two full lengths drew acclaim here, especially for the vocal work of Larry Fernandez, whose falsetto highs and toasty lows have helped make the band stand out against the backdrop of their home genre. But what happens then, here on the new "Opposite Shores" EP, where the band withdraws Fernandez' singing to a less central role?

The result, unsurprisingly, is an even more chimingly ambiant type of sound, where reverb-drenched guitars strike sparks against glockenspiels and string arrangements in songs that perhaps "bloom" more than they "move". Tempos are kept steadily and stoically in check for most of the compositions, which vary between lengths of three and seven minutes, and as mentioned, Fernandez' is only occasionally heard singing, and when he does his voice is at times used wordlessly and instrumentally, and at others his words are simply drowned by the guitars. For a prime example of this see "Wandering Ships", which - along with the Spanish "Las Olas" - have him closest to a leading role.

This seems an intentional decision however, as both the tone and production of "Opposite Shores" is generally on par with what you'd expect from a top shelf post-rock record, and you can fully savour the crispness of each layer the band piles on in their compositions. That being said, the record absolutely presupposes your interest in music made under the restrictions of the post-rock- and particularly the ambiant tag. As if you were watching a time lapse of a tree growing from sapling to maturity, the experience is tranquil and beautiful, yet conversely also predictable and rooted to the spot at the same time - The closest to an exception coming in the seven minute "Lights Underwater" which does manage to grow quite powerful towards the end.

Simply put though, if you're already enamored by beautiful and romantic layering of noises both electric and classical, then "Opposite Shores" offers six tracks that are up to par, from a band even ardent post-rock listeners may not have come across yet. If your interest in the style is more critical however, and you prefer the groups that show more ambition with the genre's elements, then your impression of the disc is likely to be more "solid" than "fantastic", as The Dandelion War seem to accomplish what they want - Yet what they want isn't necessarily all that exciting or groundbreaking in the greater scope of things. It sounds great while you have it on, but risks being quickly forgotten next to more dynamic approaches by other recent releases in the stylistic vicinity.


Download: Lights Underwater
For The Fans Of: Sigur Rós, Pompeii, The Unwinding Hours, Explosions In The Sky

Release date 18.11.2014

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