Town Portal

The Occident

Written by: PP on 12/10/2015 22:12:10

One of the primary challenges every all-instrumental band must tackle is how to make their music interesting enough for the listener while lacking one of the key elements of other bands: the vocals. There's only so much a bunch of interesting riffs can do to mitigate that aspect, as all too often the music becomes merely background noise when it isn't guided forward by lyrics and the additional flavor brought by a singer. Some bands, however, are excellent at making the listener forget about vocals. Don Caballero, through their rhythmically pulsating experimental instrumentation, is one of them. Scale The Summit do it via insanely technical guitars that paint vivid desert landscapes into the mind of the listener.

Copenhagen, Denmark-based Town Portal also do a fairly good job on their sophomore album "The Occident", which features eight tracks spanning a little over 30 minutes of instrumental music. Math rock, post-rock, and metallic instrumentation are used interchangeably throughout the album to give their expression variety, but it is on beautiful, intricate pieces like "K." and "Deep Error" where the band strike through to the heart of a listener's aural experience. The band take care to constantly modify their guitars and often supplement the soundscape with throbbing bass that echoes another Danish instrumental outfit, Fossils, in order to forge a soundscape where something is going on constantly. With math rock as the leading element, guitarist Christian Ankerstjerne shows off skills on his fret ranging from light post-rock elements to heavier shredding, with smooth bass-lines acting as a nice contrasting counterpart throughout. It's good, but is it good enough?

The truth is, instrumental rock often has an uphill battle to reach the wider audience. Without vocals, the remaining expression almost always feels like it's missing something. That is also the case on "The Occident", despite Town Portal doing a fairly good job at compensating through solid songwriting otherwise.


Download: K., Deep Error
For the fans of: And So I Watch You From A Far, Dysrhythmia, Russian Circles
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.05.2015
Suburban Recording Company / Small Pond Records

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