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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
March Into the Sea EP
Hydra Head Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

July 21, 2005
Though they're frequently lumped in with doomier label mates Isis and Jesu, Pelican are of an altogether different disposition. They do play gargantuan, earth-shifting instrumental rock with mountainous drums and god-sized guitars, but they're really saps at heart. However, the title track from this two song companion to The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw betrays Pelican's swooning romanticism in spades.

A 20 minute version of a song that's only half as long on the full-length, "March into the Sea" wages war to find the middle ground between Neurosis and The Appleseed Cast. The first half of the song lumbers like a brontosaurus; crystals of distorted guitar shatter every time the creature takes a step. This passage packs a wallop, though more in the way that Sigur Ros can blow apart a concert hall than Earth decimates grimy clubs.

After the band unleashes the beast, the song develops into something entirely different: piano and acoustic guitar replace the heroic electric guitar leads, and a flute juts into the fray to flit about wildly. The second track, a Justin K. Broadrick remix of "Angel Tears" (saps, I tell you!), pushes to even more melodic heights, with Broadrick bending a gorgeous, chrome-plated loop to bring forth new textures and colors in a way that only he can.

If you accept Pelican as a heavy metal band - rather than a post-rock band or just a rock band - you may actually have the easiest time with this sweeping, ambitious half-hour of cinematic clamor. No metal band has ever started with astonishingly raw material (just try stripping an Iron Maiden song down to acoustic guitar), but the great ones have always stumbled upon something transcendent by pushing, pushing, pushing until they've spent their all. Even the most mature metal bands rely on extremity - though they're neither shredders nor sludge purveyors, Pelican remain metal at heart by bludgeoning your emotions. They overwhelm their audience with sensitivity and heart-melting chord changes to the point where we're fucking helpless, begging for reprieve with tears in our eyes; they know we will finally decide to close our eyes and ride it out like dignified human beings. It is then that we realize the Explosions in the Skies of the world may push us, but Pelican spears us with a gleaming saber.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan



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