The competition for spaces in the post-rock canon is fierce. Do Make Say Think, unlike so many of their contemporaries, have steadfastly refused to hone their sound to a tight microcosm of its original form. The supernova in Constellation’s stellar network, their earliest experiments with tape manipulation and stargazing guitar wash suffered a critical stability collapse at around the time of 2000’s Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord Is Dead, and burst outward in an ever-accelerating blur of colour and chaos.
When instrumental rock bands get tapped for soundtracks, it can be kind of a gut-check that tests how a wider audience may view their music. Sigur Rós' folkloric melodrama and emotive language made sense as a backdrop for Vanilla Sky, itself a sort of sci-fi fairytale about misplaced and unrequited love starring someone prone to over-excitement. The charged music of Explosions in the Sky fit the open expanses and crushing blows of Friday Night Lights' take on Texas high school football culture (hell, guitarist Munaf Rayani sometimes bends over his instrument like a lineman crouching down into a three-point stance).
For their sixth album on their pals Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s Constellation label, Canadian post-rockers Do Make Say Think offer four long tracks, each named for a different word of the band's name. According to the label, the tunes are titled in this manner because the band feels like The Other Truths represents the ultimate distillation of the group's musical message. Imagine if you will, though, that there's a more literal-minded logic at work, and each track's sonic setting truly corresponds to its one-word title; once you start thinking about it, it's by no means a far-fetched notion.
It would be an exercise in beating around the bush to speak of Toronto’s Do Make Say Think without also talking about post-rock, whose short history has become thornier than its coiner could have imagined. What began as a style using guitars, basses, and drums to atmospheric ends soon welcomed all the rock in the world that didn’t rock. Then, in the late ‘90s, bands took a select few trends already in the canon and turned them into monoliths, epic in scope and authoritarian in their rigidity, and all of a sudden the name “post-rock” became as untidy as it was basically useless.
Local post-rock heroes Do Make Say Think's sixth album may only contain four tracks, but that doesn't mean this is just an EP - the average song length is around 10 minutes, and the tracks moves through so many moods and movements that there's never a drought of ideas. [rssbreak] Like their previous five albums, Other Truths is mainly instrumental (except for some subtle vocal contributions from Akron/Family and Lullabye Arkestra members) and borrows rock, jazz, psych and ambient influences for hypnotic, trance-inducing compositions. This time, however, they sound more like a live band than they have since their debut, and this relaxed natural quality suits them perfectly.