Alcian – 2012 Demo EP – 83%

2012 Demo cover art

Alcian are a New York based 4-piece who bring to the table qualities most similar to Collapse Under the Empire. Their 2012 Demo was released in March and is 3 tracks topping 22 minutes in length.

“Echoes Across the Sea” is the intro track and shoots out of the gate with crescendo and looping guitar work hanging around in the foreground while crashing cymbals take front and center during the heavier break downs. I’m not going to be too rough on this EP as it is a demo and a decent one at that, but this is probably the flattest equalized track I’ve heard all year. Mellow yet vibrant bass makes its presence known in the next track “This Way to the Stars,” an upbeat and fun track that draws comparisons to the band Mooncake. This track has a really strange transition in it halfway through it that makes me feel it would almost be better suited as two tracks. Cymbals are minimal and well-timed during the softer segments while elegant guitar work is beautifully layered to create a spacious echo.

My interested peaked off the charts hearing the voice of John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn during the opening samples of “The Quick and the Dead.” Both the original and the remake of True Grit are two of my favorite Westerns of all time so to hear The Duke yelling out “Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!” at the start of any song just makes me feel giddy. Even the track itself has a western tone to it. Guitars slowly wail as a persistent cymbal tapping slowly becomes full-scale crashing. Crescendo guitars spiral in the background behind amplifier feedback. This track has all the makings of a legendary post-rock track and is without question the band’s best work. Alcian saved the best for last and this demo is worth checking out based on this track alone.

This 3-track demo is a good starting point for Alcian and if they can continue to produce high quality work with proper mastering they should be a welcome addition to the post-rock scene! 7-20-12

Pay what you want at http://alcian.bandcamp.com/

Jakarta Project – Geographic – 83%

Geographic cover art

The Jakarta Project are still much a mystery as a band as the Russian post-rockers have very little web presence. Even after translating their Russian Lastfm.ru page it is impossible to find out even how many members are in the band. Their Facebook group requires request to join and contains only 20 members as of this writing.

The album kicks off with a 2 minute intro track “Siberia” as guitar feedback fills the background as a sample plays. “Alaska” is up next and highly textured guitars dart through the song with lifeful and fun tones full of echo. The guitar has a prog-metal feel going for it that draw strong comparisons to the band Maserati. The album doesn’t skip a beat with next track “New York” as a thick and bassy low note fills the lower areas.  This is an extremely dense album with a lot going on, making it nearly impossible to zero in on one particular sound throughout the songs.

The drums are very electronic inspired and I could not decipher whether or not they were programmed or real given that they have a very tight and systematic sound. Electronic noises make their presence felt throughout the album, most prevalent in the track “Vietnam.” The final track, “New Earth” is the longest track on the album and by far my favorite. It begins with keyboards echoing throughout both channels as well as samples reminiscent of the intro track. The riffs in this track are the best on the album as the album.

Despite being only 25 minutes It is a good album, but it just didn’t blow me away. While the music is focused I found that the tracks themselves are all over the place. The build ups lead to no true break downs either which is disappointing. The heavier segments tend to only last a few seconds before settling back down. While I’m a big fan of the guitar tones and style found on this album I found the whole thing to be a little too manufactured. I would have been delighted had their gritty and raw static guitars been utilized more. Their sound should continue to mature and grow with experience and this is definitely a more than acceptable debut release. 7-20-12

Free at http://jakartaproject.bandcamp.com/