Late Night Venture – Pioneers of Space Flight – 83%

Pioneers of Spaceflight cover art

Late Night Venture are a 5-piece band from Copenhagen, Denmark who include elements of alternative, shoegaze and space-age psychedelic vibes to their style of post-rock. While relatively unknown state side, they are well accomplished in Europe and have over 150 live shows under their belt, sharing the stage with the likes of This Will Destroy You and Caspian. Their story begins in 2006 with the release of their self titled debut album in 2006, which received rave reviews and led to distribution across the UK and into Japan. From there the band made a fairly big leap into the post-rock genre with their 2009 EP “Illuminations“.

Now they’re back and ready to make a name for themselves worldwide with ‘Pioneers of Spaceflight’, a huge 10 track 57 minute post-rock goliath. I’ll stop right there for now and cut to the verdict on the vocals the band brings to the table because as most of the readers of this site know by now I am perhaps the biggest critic of post-rock that features vocals. Late Night Venture‘s vocal tracks fall generally fall somewhere between the shoegaze offerings of Silversun Pickups and the much lighter stylings of Gregor Samsa. Some vocal songs on the album, such as “The Empty Forest” definitely stand head and shoulders above others, such as “Hours” which features whispery vocals that really don’t do anything for me but detract from the big psychedelic infused post-rock finish of the track. I think that the most important factor here is that the band does a fantastic job balancing between their post-rock and indie/shoegaze sides and as an end result has produced a well-rounded album that will please everyone.

Without question Late Night Venture‘s post-rock side is where the band truly begins to open up. From the heavily distorted opening moments of the albums opener of “Kaleidoscopes” to the lighter ambiance of “Glitterpony“, the band shows an extraordinary amount of range and prove themselves gifted musicians. “Peripherals” is perhaps a perfect showcase of the band’s true abilities, opening with the ambient sounds of children playing in a school yard while soft keyboards play a soothing number. Relaxed guitar work comes in elegantly, complimenting the keyboards well and drumming is nothing more than a mellow beat until a spiraling guitar lulls its way into the back end of the mix. The track slowly gains a head of steam in an uplifting manner until it peaks at which point heavily layered distortion guitars increase the decibel level substantially while still maintaining the track’s mellow and unrushed pace for the most part. This is generally a winning formula in the realm of post-rock and Late Night Venture certainly understands that.

The band does an excellent job switching things and up and while most tracks eventually delve into deeply textured heavily distorted guitars, the lighter sides are highly varied. Some influences from other bands can easily be heard through the album.“Birmingham”  opens with a very twinkly Explosions in the Sky feel to it and “Carisma” closes out the album with heavy distortion and spiraling crescendo guitars eerily reminiscent of the likes of Mono and God is an Astronaut. Sonically the album is as rock solid as it gets and is a great example of solid layering depth and sound staging. Of course I’d expect nothing less than excellent given that it was produced by the well accomplished Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna) after all. Lindberg’s previous contribution to the post-rock world was his work on PG.Lost‘s last album ‘Key‘ which saw release earlier this year and was equally as amazing.

‘Pioneers of Spaceflight’ is one of those boundary crossing albums that can only do good for both post-rock and shoegaze fans alike. While some post-rockers might be turned off by the vocals, which will attract the shoegaze crowd, the majority of the album is excellent instrumental work that is the perfect soundtrack to drift off to the edge of your imagination to. This album is well worth every minute of your time. 10-25-12
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