Release Date: May 5, 2015
Record label: Sargent House
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Instrumental Rock
Irish post-rock ensemble And So I Watch You from Afar offer more of their intelligent and invigorating sound on their fifth album. 2015's Heirs is a propulsive fusion of guitars, synthesizers, and drums, with wordless clouds of vocals hovering over it all as the musicians generate crisp, forceful fields of sound that hit hard but maintain a striking melodic grace. Heirs demonstrates a band that can be articulate without speaking in words, and And So I Watch You from Afar are a smart, inventive group who continue to progress with each visit to the recording studio.
There’s something utterly joyous about math/post-rock hybrid bands at their best. No record has ever illustrated this more, in your reviewer’s humble opinion at least, than the self-titled 2009 debut from Belfast quartet And So I Watch You from Afar. Any record that starts as thunderously as that one – with the still magnificent ‘Set Guitars to Kill’ – and manages to keep up the pace and the punch – whether physical (‘TheseRIOTSareJUSTtheBEGINNING’) or emotional (‘The Voiceless’) – so perfectly throughout the rest of its duration is deserving of significant praise.
Irish post-rockers And So I Watch You From Afar have been in the game long enough to be able to focus their musical energy into a precise point. The band, on their new album Heirs especially, have perfected the combined elements of arena rock, metal, post-rock, punk and math rock with a few idiosyncrasies of their own—notably the occasional chanted gang vocals—so much so that they sometimes sound too comfortable with it all. No, they aren’t groundbreaking; anyone with a passing familiarity with Don Caballero, Tera Melos or Explosions in the Sky could accurately imagine the basis of the band’s sound without actually hearing it.
Review Summary: Neither here nor there.Heirs is like that guy you once met at a party who, upon entering, became the party. Absolutely infectious in his positivity with the rare ability to crank the feel good factor up to eleven, this guy is effortlessly contagious. As long as the night is young and the party is still going, you want this guy flowing.
Ask anyone who’s witnessed And So I Watch You From Afar in the live arena and they’ll surely attest - the Irish four-piece are gladiators. Gripping til the end, their frantic attacks of hard-edged post-rock are breathtakingly tight, the band themselves throwing their weight around as if possessed. It’s deflating then, to see ‘Heirs’ continue the band’s inability to ferry such moments of on-stage euphoria into the studio.
Group chants, warped guitar shreds, and a seemingly incessant furious energy. Sound familiar? For fans of Belfast’s And So I Watch You From Afar, this should resonate loudly; have no fear, the quartet shows no signs of changing, as is clear from forthcoming release Heirs. Written in isolation over half a year, their fourth full-length is quintessential ASIWYFA, and perhaps a little too much for its own good.