Post-rock is a genre in which the instruments stand out, making the vocals a subordinate element. It must be acknowledged that the so-called ‘traditional’ genre may be too repetitive, dwelling on instrumental evolutions. Therefore, it is not surprising that the genre has taken a turn, being influenced by other genres and effects. A fair amount of artists proved that post sub-genres are possible, and also pretty well – but we need to pay attention to the other side of the coin. Too much ‘experimentation’ and influences can actually break the atmosphere, and may have a side effect; that’s what I thought while listening to ‘A Sailor Lost Around the Earth’, the sophomore of the Italian band Valerian Swing.
The follow-up of ‘Draining planning for ears reflector’ has what it takes to be a pretty good album. Recorded in Seattle with Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis and Pearl Jam) during June/July 2010, the new full length by Stefano Villani (guitar, vocals, electronics), David Ferretti (drums) and Alan Ferioli (bass, keyboards) was released last March.
This heavy post-rock work has some pretty outstanding moments, like the nostalgic and deep ‘A sea in your divine fast’ and ‘nothing but a sailor lost around the earth’, in which echoes, some whispered drums and a lead guitar remind us of some Long Distance Calling atmosphere in the middle of song and forbidden spells. The things get heavier with ‘since last century’ and ‘hypgnagogic hallucination – sound in the void’, in which a frenetic couple (guitar/bass) are fighting to overcome the persistent drums. The more experimental track ‘the decent man’ is also quite interesting, where synth / electronic bits overcome the instruments to get into some synth rock influences. Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky influences can be spotted in ‘how far’ and ‘pleng’, in which post rock is disturbed by some heavier interludes, which ruin the charm of the songs. This is the main flaw of the album, in which the need to group together too many melodic and rhythmic influences, which may corrupt the emotional spontaneity (‘Dr Pengl in there’, ‘le roi cremeux’).
All in all, ‘A Sailor Lost Around the Earth’ is an album made of up and downs that proves there’s a maturation process on, which is not concluded, but still evidence of high capacities and talent. Keep on rocking guys.