Self Evident – Endings
Despite pompously claiming to make “transcendental” music on their website (really, guys?) self-evident are a band with some impressive tricks up their sleeves. Mixing sparse yet powerful instrumentation with vocals that regularly leap from the melodic to the primal, the band’s new LP, ‘Endings’, is clearly the result of years spent honing their craft.
The unusual self-description seems to imply that generic innovation is where the band’s strengths lie. It’s a shame, because self-evident also offer a nuanced and compelling take on the many influences that pepper their music. There’s the looming shadow of late-90s emo, of post-rock figureheads like Fugazi and in the vocal range and looming threat of discord, there’s even a hint of recently reformed post-punk geniuses The Dismemberment Plan.
There’s something uncanny about this record, something that feels familiar despite the band clearly finding their niche. The strongest parts of ‘Endings’ are often the most derivative. At their best, self-evident offer a compelling blend of accessible melody and technical experimentation. That similar things have been done before isn’t necessarily something to be ashamed of.
‘Everything all at Once’ is a great opener, delicately textured yet accessible- a model the band use frequently. There are moments of ambient indulgence throughout the album, but always to temper the music bordering it. Of course, this works both ways. Tracks fade in and gain momentum in a way that sometimes makes referring to individual songs pointless. Some moments are striking in themselves- the unexpected (and good!) gang vocals that briefly surface in ‘Temporary, Confused’, for example. But the album does have standout songs, like the surprisingly catchy ‘Nonlocality’ and the elegant variety of ‘The Future’. Strongest of the lot is ‘Holding On’, a track which takes familiar elements and creates a startling new structure from them. The song plays with form and expectation, but never loses its way. It’s an early promise the rest of the album can’t quite live up to.
Ultimately, technical proficiency can only get you so far. This almost feels like a record that’s worked a little too hard to reach its current state, every swirling crescendo the result of months spent together in some dank basement. This does afford the band scope for trying new ideas whilst maintaining consistent themes and atmosphere, but the record can seem a little joyless as a result.
Yet this is not meant to be easy listening. ‘Endings’ is a solid offering best listened to in the dark through a decent pair of headphones- but don’t hold that against it. If you’re prepared to put even a fraction of the effort into listening to it that the band doubtless put into creating it, it’s a rewarding experience. Still some way off being ‘transcendental’, though…
Top Tracks: ‘Nonlocality’, ‘Holding On’.
Released February 07 on Double Plus Good
Echo Rating (((●●●)))
Posted by Mike
Tags: Double Plus Good, Endings, Mike, Self Evident