This Will Destroy You
Hello Filterinos, and welcome to another edition of #musicreview. As you may or may not know, This Will Destroy You, the instrumental Texan post-rock band released a new album called Another Language. The band has decidedly come out against being called “post-rock” for this record, preferring to use their own portmanteau of “doomgaze”, combining doom metal with the oft polarizing shoegaze. Going into the album, that’s about all you need to know.
The first thing that will strike you about Another Language is the incredible ability that this instrumental band has to make completely satisfying song structures while eschewing typical patterns laid out by the last eighty years of popular music. Even perennially forward-thinking musicians like Arcade Fire, The Refused and Sigur Ros seem to have more reverence for the structure of days gone by. Add to that the fact that this band uses tones, effects and dynamics to move you instead of lyrics and this feat only becomes that much more impressive. From the first track (“New Topia”), this is a mission the band seems to be all too ready and capable of taking on.
While TWDY is often sited as being one of the greatest applicators of dynamics in current music, this album does it so artfully that you almost don’t realize it’s happening. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of shocking jumps in decibels over the course of this record, but there are an increasingly high number of times where they shift gears in a way that is less jarring and more pleasing. This shows the growth of a band that is able to do so much with relatively little. This is like a minimalist film maker showing you breath-taking scenes of nature while relating it back to the plot. It is gorgeous art with highs, lows and most importantly, substance.
The most impressive trick TWDY is able to pull off on this album is building tension. The band known for these structures and dynamic shifts (which are on full display here) is also showing an incredibly focused ability to make you feel. It would seem as though the “doom” shift in their self-imposed genre is paying incredible dividends to make a shockingly cohesive album. I have not talked to any members of This Will Destroy You, but I have already come up with a narrative thread that brings the whole record together. I am not going to share it because the beauty of this album is that you will come up with your own. It feels so thoroughly connected throughout that it sounds like a score to a film that has not been released. The theatrics and passion that are on display are beyond reproach.
Truly, this is a phenomenal album and one of the absolute best of the year. To say anything else is to ignore the musical and melodic abilities of this band. Though this album is not without art and fart, it is laden with rich, beautiful melodies that make these enigmatic and crazy ideas accessible in a way that a more pretentious band may not have considered. The kicker? This is as natural to the band as breathing. This is what they do and this is what they will continue to do. Though it is unfair to expect everything This Will Destroy You will do will be remarkable, they have yet to disappoint. If you can find a way to clear an hour of your day and just sit with an incredible piece of art, take Another Language for a spin. You won’t be sorry you did.
Oh, and so far as the fancy pants record title goes: yes they use music instead of words to convey their ideas and no, even given that, I do not think it’s a lame name for a record.
Jason R. Noble