[20 August 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Desertshore, a project comprising players Chris Connolly and Phil Carney (Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon), has recorded four albums, but Migrations of Glass is the duo’s second instrumental record. It is an expansive, sweeping, often excellent record that combines Connolly’s classically trained history with Carney’s background in folk-rock seamlessly. The band is at its best when it lets these songs stretch out and take up space.
The six-minute “Forevermore” melds piano and echoing guitars into a moody mix accentuated by spare but hard-striking drums. The song threatens to erupt but never quite does, and that tension leads nicely into the epic 13 minutes of “Tempest Armada”. This is a song that starts with quiet pulsing percussion and rippling notes before building into a full, deeply textured rumble of a song, equal parts hard-edged riffs, propulsive drums, and deep-in-the-cut bass lines. It’s a song that shows that Desertshore is capable of playing with silence and rock-band heft. Other moments, like “Enduro Nocturno”, turn these elements into something brighter, while other shorter tracks like “Until Morning Comes” feel like they are just getting started before they fade out. Overall, Migrations of Glass is a great record, one with as much control as wild abandon, as much structure as borderlessness.