And So I Watch You From Afar are at it again, this time with their latest album, Gangs. What draws many people to post-rock is the calm, soothing soundscapes that 3 guys and a delay pedal can produce, but ASIWYFA snubs it’s nose at that Sigur Rós stereotype and proceeds to shred it up in a way that would make an 80′s metal-head drool. Purely original, purely energy, The Belfast Boys know how to breathe life into a sometimes stagnant genre and give it the energy that it was lacking for so very long.
Gangs had a whole lot of hype to live up to. “Search:Party:Animal” was released some time ago, and the buzz was already being heard about Gangs being one of the top albums of 2011. It had everything their self-titled debut album had: creativity, originality and powerful, screaming guitar riffs. You’ll listen to Gangs and hear exactly that; every track on this album (minus one) contained the same essence that made me fall in love 2 years ago.
The best track on this album is “7 Billion People All Alive At Once”, because they seriously varied up the dynamics during the course of this song: it had a normal pace as compared to the rest of their works, but they brought it between soft and epic so many different times that it truly showed the artistic talent these guys have. In addition, being a hardcore kid, I am always a sucker for crowd vocals, especially in post-rock [you should have seen me swoon when I first heard "Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate"]. When I heard them in this song, I got the same rush of togetherness that I normally get from hardcore, and it was such an incredible feeling. The psudo-title track “Gang (starting never stopping)” had a really familiar melodic structure to “S Is For Salamander” from their Letters EP, but nevertheless was a great track. The real sleeper song here, the one that I overlooked coming into this album, was “Homes – Ghost Parlor KA -6 to…”. It was so unexpected, but yet so needed in this action-packed album; it was slow, delicate and showed that And So I Watch You From Afar is not just a one-trick pony.
Rating: I feel that this album sounded much more like their first and not so much like Letters EP, but all the same, I am in love. I thought it was going to be just a simple re-hashing of previous efforts, just riding on that back and never progressing, but And So I Watch You From Afar proved that they can be harsh, they can be gentle, but they will never be “just another post-rock band”. 4.5/5