Monday, 7 June 2010

Album Review - The Polar Dream 'Follow Me To The Forest'

Post-Rock seems to have become a dirty word. Bands that have irrefutable elements of post-rock won’t touch the word with a barge pole as if it is festering with scum and shame. So they beat around the bush and tag themselves as instrumental, experimental, ambient; anything to avoid being pelted with rotten fruit on the admittance of being ‘the genre that cannot be named’. But, isn’t post-rock a pretty desirable form of music to create? It sits with untouchable cool on the underground music scene, undiscoverable and unreachable by the simple everyday maenads of David Guetta, despite the accessability of Sigur Rós breaking a hand through the dirt and clasping a handful of Topman clad level 1 indie kids who whilst making this foray believe they’ve witnessed a creation of the messiah.

There are some supposed post-rock bands that primarily give their music to other genres; 65daysofstatic consider themselves electronic, The Album Leaf is more about ambience and some lesser known bands like Enemies and toe contain large elements of math-rock. But The Polar Dream is undeniable post-rock.

The music of this Mexican 5 piece follows every rule of the holy book written by Mogwai and Godspeed, with openings of light, sweet melodic piano and glockenspiel, humming guitar; repition leads to evolution which in a similar style to Mono and This Will Destroy You threatens to erupt at any moment. Opener The Mountain is a great example of this post-rock formula, that’s not to say it’s at all unoriginal - it’s fast becoming a favourite on the album.

There is an imaginary line in my mind when listening to post-rock bands, bands above the line that are the real deal and then a vast selection of bands who find a guitar melody, crank up every effect on their amp and play it over and over, progressively getting louder and basically being lazy about the whole process. The Polar Dream is above that line and their album Follow Me To The Forest is a great listening experience easily digested from start to finish.

It has elements of many other similar bands; a melodica like the music of müm makes cameos throughout the album, most notably on La Aldea, the crashing yet somehow relaxing drums are not dissimilar to the ambience of The Album Leaf and the yearning echoes of the guitars would do This Will Destroy You proud. Leaves In The Sky is like an instrumental Sigur Rós track, in fact Jónsi's vocals hooting Hopelandic over the song was half expected on listening.

The Polar Dream prove there need not be any shame in coming out of the closet as a post-rock band, because if Follow Me To The Forest is the result, then it’s something that should never be hidden. Just as long as we on the underground get to keep it all to ourselves.

Follow Me To The Forest by The Polar Dream is released June 2010.

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