Of the many dozen post-rock inspired albums released each year, The New Art History by England’s Our Lost Infantry is likely the most difficult 2012 release to describe. Think Mogwai meets Rush — the larger than life grandiosity of the former, the angular technicality of the latter — and the end result is a progressive post-rock that is neither moody nor somber, but forceful and gallant.
Nine movements and 36 minutes, The New Art History is meant to be experienced as a whole — a master work that ebbs and flows through moments of bellowing fury and sharp hooks (“Fearless”), pulsing dynamics (“Avogardo”) and soaring bravado (“The Hollow”). Unlike most albums of this nature — whose focus lies within its instrumentals — The New Art History is not a record that allows itself to be simply heard and exist in the periphery. It must be listened to and it demands the attention of its listeners as a focal point of consideration.
What Our Lost Infantry do best is display the intricacies of their compositions as more than just subtle nuances, but major players in the theatre of well-calculated soundscapes. This is never more apparent than when the band fuses the ethereal with experimental free-form in their effortless time signature changes. On tracks like “All The Street Lights Of My Hometown” and “To Meet Your Maker”, it is often unnerving to hear the group breeze through transitions with such an incredible ease. From rich textures and potent walls of sound, to more accented and methodical twists, the band does this without falling into a pattern of uneven start-stop shifts.
As a whole, The New Art History is a debut album that places Our Lost Infantry miles ahead of their peers, and is a call to arms to an English post-rock scene that has laid dormant for the better part of the last decade.