PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

This Will Destroy You: Another Language

On its latest, This Will Destroy You continues its mission to single-handedly destroy the eardrums of post-rock fans.


This Will Destroy You

Another Language

Label: Suicide Squeeze
US Release Date: 2014-09-16
UK Release Date: 2014-09-15
Amazon
iTunes

There is a certain heaviness to This Will Destroy You that betrays the majestic beauty on which the band's compositions are largely built. Functioning in the absurdly titled post-rock realm of instrumental indie rock, This Will Destroy You crafts some of the heaviest, gorgeously lush tracks out there. Capable of widescreen, ethereal beauty one moment and skull rattling heaviness the next, This Will Destroy You manages to tap into a very specific emotional core that doesn’t rely solely on loud/soft dynamics to elicit false responses in the listener. Rather there’s a general sense of uneasiness throughout, knowing that at any time gorgeous, ephemeral moments could erupt in a spasm of seizure-inducing heaviness. Throughout, you’re essentially left waiting for the next massive surge in volume and, when it comes, it functions as a welcome relief that borders on the euphoric, having been finally afforded the release the listener craves with being taken to the next sonic level.

Opening track "New Topia" features a slow, gradual build that abruptly devolves into oppressively heavy, though no less majestic, distortion and pummeling drums. This is the kind of magisterial immensity that begs to be labeled as cinematic, causing all senses to tremble and one’s vision to blur as the sounds reverberate within one’s head, causing massive vibrations to emanate throughout the whole of the body. The bass alone on the last several minutes of "Dustism" is enough to rupture any number of speakers and eardrums and can be felt throughout the whole of one’s body with a startling clarity generally lost when volumes dip this far into the red. Rather than losing anything in the transition from slumbering to full-on roar, the individual elements, like those of the fully awake following blissful slumber, are heightened and snapped fully into focus, immediately and often rudely thrust out of the gauzy haze of sleep.

Functioning essentially as one long, seamless track on the album’s first half, the individual elements are broken down into a handful of distinct tracks that all begin with a smoldering melancholy that, with mere minutes to go, erupts into massive walls of distortion that, in the case of "Serpent Mind", beget further walls of distortion just when it feels as though they couldn’t possibly pile anything else atop the massage sonic structure already erected. While certainly becoming formulaic, this idiosyncratic approach is less so than a number of This Will Destroy You’s contemporaries and, by contrast, show this band to be the sole purveyor of a certain sort of sonic weirdness within the post-rock idiom that leaves the listener wondering just where the volume and song structure itself will be headed next.

Essentially, This Will Destroy You creates some of the heaviest, most beautiful instrumental post-rock out there, crafting massively symphonic pieces out of minimalist elements, forgoing the gradual build in favor of drastic dynamic shifts that, despite anticipating their arrival, can feel jarring to the point of disorientation. But this only serves to heighten the visceral impact music like this can have on the listener, the difference between awake and asleep, occasionally a smooth transition, though more times than not a jarring experience that causes a great deal of confusion and disorientation that can only be absorbed and appreciated fully in the moment rather than dissected and studied at a later time.

"War Prayer", unlike the tracks preceding it, allows for a gradual build into brontosaurian pummeling that never moves much beyond a gentle lumbering roll, occasionally trailing off into dissonant atmospherics that rely on sonic textures as much as the louder sections rely on pure noise to create sounds upon sounds that then create wholly new tonalities and overtones and shapes, allowing for new spaces to appear and shapes to shift and twist and become something new and different before exploding and falling back in on itself. Using the drums to gradually build, "War Prayer" affords the listener fair warning that things are about to erupt into majestic heaviness once more.

Over the whole of its mercifully brief run time, Another Language becomes an almost exhausting listening experience, one that requires a certain level of auditory endurance given the slow tempos and even slower builds, lulling the listener into submission only to pummel them once more at the climax of each song. Only during "The Puritan" is the listener given any sort of extended reprieve, it being the shortest track on the album and also the only to fully forego the soft/crushingly-loud sonic template. Here one’s ears are able to process, through ethereal synths and soothing sounds, the beauty of This Will Destroy You without the brutal oppression that often follows the admittedly formulaic song structures.

Slowed to a somnambulant crawl, "Mother Opiate" provides distinct instrumentation from the start with its brushed snare work, gentle keyboards and brooding atmospherics, all combining to create something akin to a sonic sedative that, again unlike the preceding tracks, operates at a slow burn without relying on turning up the flames for maximum impact. It’s this uncertainty, however, that creates a sense of dread in the listener, the same way horror films rely on cheap scares to unsettle an audience, keeping everyone on the edge of their seats throughout, never entirely sure what to expect. Here the monster never arrives, though its presence is felt and the shadow of dread it casts is enough to unnerve even the most relaxed listener.

"Invitation", with its odd meter martial snare set against a gentle Rhodes, continues to follow the softer, gentler template laid out on the two preceding tracks, only occasionally interrupted by a pair of squalling guitars. Undeterred, the initial figure continues on unabated, allowing for the chaos to gradually build around it, the calm at the center of the storm. Only when the volume is ramped up yet another notch does the initial keyboard figure revisit its initial statement, creating something a bit more declarative in nature in order to be heard amidst the increasingly chaotic maelstrom into which it has been thrust.

For the most part, This Will Destroy You finds its footing on the slow burn, crawling along at a snail’s pace, rarely straying from an established formula (quiet, brooding intro, slow build/hard dynamic shift half to three quarters of the way through, louder still) that, over the course of a whole album, can be somewhat draining. Forgoing the genre’s tendency toward the easy emotional sell, however, This Will Destroy You manages to create a sound wholly its own while still operating fully within the basic framework of the post-rock/instrumental rock genre. All the necessary sonic touchstones are there, only slightly skewed and then turned up to often painfully oppressive levels to create something wholly new and different. Within a genre in which most bands become interchangeable, This Will Destroy You manages to set itself apart.

6

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.