Whenever I hear landscapic, guitar-based rock with few vocals, I automatically compare it to Scottish innovators, Mogwai. I consider Mogwai’s Come On Die Young one of the best records of 1999, so every band falling loosely into the post-rock, instrumental ramblings category is inevitably, and somewhat unfairly, held up to the light Mogwai casts. Everyone must stand in line to be compared side by side with the Moggies to get my post-rock seal of approval. Not too many bands make the cut. The For Carnation does.
The For Carnation fashion this means of cerebral journey with lazy, repeated patterns, and controlled, premeditated guitar notes and drum beats. Ex-Slint member Brian McMahan and crew slither through this six-song/45-minute album with a little vocal help from Kim Deal, formerly of the Breeders, and Rachel Haden of That Dog.
The For Carnation meanders through faraway, hazy yellow fields. It stumbles over twigs in remote wooded areas. It crawls along dim city streets at night. The album has motion. The album has velocity. The album slinks along without climbing. It builds out, not up. It stretches across scenic countrysides you’ve never seen in real life before. This is eyes-closed music.
This album is space rock minus the space. It’s expansive, earth-bound rock. It’s organic. It’s the deep grain in dark wood. It’s a handful of rich soil. It’s a smooth sedimentary stone. It’s the beauty of imperfection.
You can’t see through the opaque wanderings of The For Carnation. Hold the album up to the light and it blocks out the sun. The deep-colored lushness of the album doesn’t just equal Mogwai’s music on the genre plane. The For Carnation sneaks up on it, taps it on the shoulder and steals its crown before Mogwai can figure out what hit ‘em.