It’s almost as if they made a punk record. And So I Watch You From Afar has always been a band making its own album—the technical, heady, quirky one—and tuning it up again, but All Hail Bright Futures is only a formal restatement. Everything else is done to the side; these bumpy, belching songs, harkening back to Dananananaykroyd’s physics-defying sense of hardcore tribute, every miffing guitar riff used to usher in a scuzzier chorus. The album’s odd ball moments, like the symphonic suite in “Trails”, are crunched back by noisy sediment. For all its typical aspirations, All Hail Bright Futures is a record biting back, a more theatrical performance than ever, and a pump-up of a genre going harder. “Young Brave Minds”—that’s some wide-eyed punk movie stuff.
All this with a tight construction. All Hail Bright Futures might be ASIWYFA’s loudest and quirkiest record, but its brain remains. It flows like the great math rock records tend to, simply moving onward, refusing to let the raucousness waver. Like the forward momentum of Ghost and Vodka’s Addicts and Drunks, this record kind of knows where it’s going, but knows more than anything it has to keep going. It might be the same old band, but watch that thump.