Release Date: Oct 2, 2012
Record label: Felte
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
This may be ERAAS' debut album, but Robert Toher and Austin Stawiarz had been making dark, evocative music for years with the post-rock band Apse before moody, sinister sounds became fashionable again in the indie world during the late 2000s and early 2010s. While this latest incarnation of the duo's music fits into that revival pretty well, they use enough of what they learned with Apse to make them more complex, and unexpected, than some of their contemporaries. ERAAS' song titles distill dread and mysticism into their most symbolic representations, but that may be the simplest thing about the duo's music.
From the ashes of post-rock aesthetes Apse comes ERAAS. With frontman Robert Toher and co-songwriter Austin Stawiarz remaining, the act assumes a more silvery, esoteric, and minimalist shape, as ethereal vocals recalling The Knife slither around sinewy bass groves and stray glass synth shards..
The press release for ERAAS’ self-titled new record describes these Brooklynites as a “tribal atmospheric quartet”. If you are like me (and I am certain that every single one of you is), the first question that pops into your mind is: “What do they mean by tribal?” Well apparently by tribal they mean sometimes sounds like early Killing Joke. Do these folks listen to lots of Dead Can Dance? You bet your black eye-liner they do.
An intentionally lush attempt at harmonizing simulated stringed instruments proves a distraction and ultimately the immediacy of A Presence winds up a more convincing starting point for the self-titled debut of ERAAS, a Brooklyn based quartet whose glacial and spatially charged gothic-tinged soundscapes take on the nuances of outsider 70s and 80s rock, translating them through some of the newer musical dialects spawned by groups like TV On The Radio and Radiohead. I felt like I was listening to Neu!’s first album when the percussion kicked in, icy cymbal taps and pulsating low end, spare guitar riffs donning reverb so as to indicate some notion of expanse. I dig the speed, the repetition, the emphasis on the snare hit and the belled smacks that flank each tap.