Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ruins - Talkdemonic


Glacial Pace Records.

SCQ Rating: 68%

One element has sustained post-rock these many years and, no, it isn’t volume. It isn’t lengthiness either, although both contribute to what is most certainly the key ingredient to any post-rock classic: mood. Without genuinely evoked mood, volume would be a nuisance and run-times would unspool into mindless sprawl. Talkdemonic eschew this equation but not as a means to create anew; Kevin O’Connor and Lisa Molinaro have instead propositioned us with an eclectic mixed bag of two-to-three minute electronic-rock jams. That latest album Ruins offers the lightning punch you’d expect from a description such as that but post-rock, it is not.

Once you’ve shed those weighty expectations, Talkdemonic’s economic streak garners muscle more appropriate for its ilk; ‘Violet’ uses cacophony in percussive fits while ‘City Sleep’ – the only track to break the five-minute mark – congeals out of compressed guitar distortion into a rhythmic little backbeat in need of a hook. The record’s softer side serves Talkdemonic better, with the sleepy drum-machine of blurry-eyed opener ‘Slumber Verses’ beckoning us into its woozy orchestral warps. Acoustic arrangements make a clear-headed highlight of ‘Revival’ and padded haze drips on the string-laden ‘Chimera’. Still, despite Ruins’ ear-pleasing concoctions, each track exits on a stunted note, as if engaging the post-rock playbook but running off once the stakes get raised. Whether one listens to post-rock for its trademarked volume-shift dynamics, its epic proportions or something else entirely, we can all agree that post-rock aims to generally up the ante. Ruins, on the other hand, constructs some pretty surroundings which are weightless without stronger conviction.

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