I remember reading “The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream.” by John Bunyan. It’s a Christian allegory that details the story of a man who journeys from his hometown “The City of Destruction” to the “Celestial City” atop Mount Zion.
The road is long and the going hard, with many obstructions and deceptions falling upon the young protagonist, yet overcomes them all and he makes it there. Looking back, my journey with “Mòn”, the first album of Canadian post-rockers APPALACHES, shares many similarities with this wonderful story.
RELEASE DATE: 23 May 2014 LABEL: Independent
I really can’t grasp how it has taken me so long to simply ‘get’ this album. It has so many different sides to it, so many different qualities. Let me start right at the beginning. “Spotari” is every inch an album-opener. It has a powerful build up around a theme that really makes you feel like it’s the beginning of something special. Then the song breaks down into a moment of quiet before exploding into a Pink Floyd-esque bridge that leads right into the climax of the song. “Spotari” does its job well, as it was the song that made me realise that this album was going to be a thrill.
Normally I’m not such a fan of lengthy songs in post-rock, but for “Mòn” with it’s five songs spread out over 43 minutes, I’m willing to make an exception. Rarely does listening to this album feel like a drag. I say ‘rarely’ because I must admit that I can’t listen to this type of music all day. In fact, at one point this album really started to become an ennui for me because I really needed to listen to it (and that’s not only because I wanted to write a decent review). “Mòn” contains lots of little holes to crawl into; little moments for the listener to rejoice in; little glimpses of scenery that make you want to enjoy life again. “Nomse”, a ‘short’ track lasting six minutes, feels like waking up on a sunny morning, while “Nola”, with its ten minutes of song, feels like a dream to me. It’s like going on a holiday; when you enjoy yourself on the way, you’re there before you know it.
Like a lot of post-rock “Mòn” comes more to its right through a pair of headphones than through a set of speakers. It’s not really produced to be blasted through some cheap Beats rip-offs from China; nor through a decent pair of studio speakers for that matter. At first I was rather disappointed by the heavy parts of the album, since I found that they lacked that extra punch in the face that I craved whenever Appalaches launched from the softer into the louder parts. Then, for some weird reason, I told myself to listen to the album as if it were an ambient album. I immersed myself into the album, paying more attention to the soft parts and what they were comprised of. Suddenly, the harder parts began to make more sense to me and I found that they were really one of the heaviest I’ve heard in post-rock. Especially the end of “Soleicare” is just one gigantic blast that rings through long after the album has ended.
Listening to Appalaches’ “Mòn” has been an incredible journey from indifference to amazement, and what ho! this is only the band’s debut album. The booklet that comes with the album – containing a piece of art for each song – looks wonderful and it’s probably a delight to hold it in your hands; just to admire it for a good few minutes. Shame my money just seems to go down the drain these days, and I’m not even buying every single album that like! Anyway, “Mòn” is definitely a record to cherish, and Appalaches is a band that’s totally able to give the listener a run for his – you know it – money.