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Balmorhea

All Is Wild, All Is Silent

(Western Vinyl; US: 10 Mar 2009; UK: Available as import)

Balmorhea’s previous albums have been quiet affairs, featuring either solo piano, solo guitar, or perhaps a small chamber ensemble to back these main instruments. It was undeniably post rock in the way that they used the piano and guitar, but unlike their Austin, TX counterparts Explosions in the Sky and This Will Destroy You, they did not seem to have the word “epic” in mind when composing their music. Instead, words like “humble” and “folky” came to mind. All Is Wild, All Is Silent turns the tables on Balmorhea’s established image, integrating a full band into their sound.


Opener “Settler” immediately sets the album’s new tone. Obviously taking influence from their contemporaries, the song crescendos and climaxes through multiple sections, but given the album’s organic instrumentation of piano, guitar (always clean or acoustic), strings and the newly added drums, their folky sound is retained, giving them an original voice in the otherwise banal post rock genre. The second climax of the song features joyful handclaps to propel the song forward, promising a new energy that permeates the rest of the album. The shorter tracks, such as “March 4, 1831” and “Elegy”, return to Balmorhea’s old style, but they work so much better in the context of a larger, more grandiose overall statement. All Is Wild, All Is Silent finally brings a Balmorhea album with enough variety to sustain its length, and all of their changes still fit within their natural organic sound.

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By PopMatters Staff
23 Feb 2010
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