Reviewed by: Foofer
It’s almost criminal how many fans You Are An Explorer doesn’t have. Just over 300 followers on twitter (With exactly 100 tweets, as I’m writing this) and less than 250 likes on facebook. This is probably the largest talent to fan ratio I’ve ever seen. You Are An Explorer is a trio hailing from Canada with hardly any releases under their belt, which seems to be something we’re seeing more of here, with Audrey Fall’s “Mitau” in mind. I can hardly swing a dead telecaster without hitting a brilliant debut album these days.
With a band name like You Are An Explorer, the first thing that comes to mind are all of the other ridiculous band names you see in the post-rock culture. (coughBeefTerminalcough) Thankfully, this band is so far from pretentious and inaccessible. With their soothing tones and calming grooves, it’s hard to stay awake, even though the EP is just under a half hour long. But what a wonderful 30 minutes it is! Right away with “My Name is Driftwood” you’re given an audio tour through what You Are An Explorer is like. Clean guitars, a fitting yet not too subtle bass, and drumming so smooth, you almost can’t tell it’s in 5/4 time. It’s not very often I find something a bit math-y that doesn’t sound like This Town Needs Guns. It almost sounds like there’s a bit of fusion in the mix, but I tend to write that up to its unusual key signature. Not even two songs in, and my inner music theory geek is getting excited.
“Palisade” is the spiritual successor to the opening track with more grooves and clean guitars. When I first heard it, I thought the first song hadn’t ended yet, it’s so smooth. It almost has a 70’s psych/jam band feel to it with the fuzzy solo guitar. About halfway into this song, I became worried that the rest of the album was going to sound this way. Jam rock with a hint of mathy fusion. It’s new, but I don’t want a whole album of it.
“Mystique Theory” destroyed any thoughts of monotony. It really marks a change of mood for the rest of the EP, sets the tone in a magnificent way. The first thing that stuck out to me was the fact that the drummer was drumming so slowly. Normally, a drummer bangs away at the snare when the rest of the band is playing slowly. At some times, it fits really well; gives it a driving feeling, like you’re really pressing on with a certain tenacity. But for the most part I wanna smack the drummer and say “Dude, your bandmates are chilling out, you should too.” It’s nice to see a drummer who really makes an effort to fit the music in the most appropriate way possible. For a moment at the end of this song, I thought my file was corrupted, or maybe my headphones were going out. The use of static as a droning element caught me by complete surprise, a very ingenious way to give the song a peculiar sort of crescendo without being loud at all.
“… And We Built” and “Beacon” really round off the EP, giving it a very fulfilling ending. The keyboard’s introduction into the EP is a bit late, but nevertheless welcomed warmly. The use of more math-like guitars makes another appearance, but it quickly gives way to a more aggressive sound. But when I say aggressive, try to think of a sloth zombie or something. Dangerous, but still very subdued. With heavier guitars and the usage of the double kick drums, it’s proving itself to be an adequately varied album. While the last song isn’t the longest, it definitely plays itself out to be the final hurrah before ending. If you’ve ever read any of my previous reviews, you know I hate the final hurrah. More like final harrumph.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this album. From the bits of math-rock, to the hints of fusion, and the ever so calming post-rock grooves, this album deserves to make a big splash. So for the love of all that is good, recommend it to anyone who can appreciate talented music.