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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw
Hydrahead Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

August 9, 2005
Many things will happen eventually: a great oak tree will fall, the sun will implode and/or explode and the Chicago Cubs will win a World Series (probably all three on the day of the Apocalypse). On a smaller and more promising scale, "eventually" is the prevalent term of attitude to be felt throughout instrume(n)talist band Pelican's second full length release, The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw.

In this situation, "eventually" isn't to be endured with a foot-tapping patience that accompanies waiting hundreds of years, but should instead be met with the curiosity that precedes gradual discovery. During nearly sixty minutes and only seven songs, the quartet tests the listening focus of its audience with points of repetition, quietude and overall instrumental style, and eventually overwhelms with a mastery of dimension, melding of style conventions and powerful sound.

Pelican's characteristic sound is certainly its most impressive asset. On one side there are similarities to slow-burning instrumental indie rock bands such as C-Clamp and Mogwai - bands that made their name on crawling tempos and unfolding, building song structures. The other side of Pelican is indicative of the group's label affiliation, a deep metal drawl that is reminiscent of fellow Hydrahead label mates, Isis. The seamless combination of these two dimensions offers not only potentially greater appeal but also innumerable creative possibilities.

"Autumn into Summer" is proof. The song begins with atmospheric guitar sounds, whispering its smoke trails in the open night sky. Drums and bass slowly drop in and a Mogwai-esque pattern develops. Not more than a minute later, the guitar takes over, defines a brighter pace and melody and leads the composition to a double-bass flurried diving board. The chorus's hook is radio clip worthy; galloping detuned guitars and bass spit up into high-note guitar string tempo markers. The song further expands with open chords and increased intensity levels; it eventually becomes a mosher with gutturally low-tuned guitars galloping along while the drummer pounds on double bass and china cymbals.

At its end, "Autumn into Summer" finishes with a time of 10:48 - a marathon as far as indie rock and metal songwriting go. For Pelican this is protocol. All seven album songs clock in at over four and a half minutes and three of them near or well over the 10-minute mark. Sometimes this approach can be commendable, as when in "Last Day of Winter" a buildup of drum accentuations and snare rim clicks exhibits the full power of a slow crescendo. During this upsurge, another characteristic of the band shows itself when - upon each cymbal pulse - an eerily low, distorted and gong-like guitar sound bellows out amidst atmospheric guitar weavings and reverberated distortions.

There are some moments of The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw that get drawn out and downright boring: "Red Ran Amber" introduces a good base for rocking, but the pointless repetition of a revisited melody, then a quiet segment that builds to nowhere, shows that the band can still be a little more concise while maintaining their air of liberated instrumentalism.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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