Today, it seems quite hard to find a really good underground post-rock band, as post-rock is a genre that includes a number of bands that sound the same. The structure of such bands’ songs seems to be settled as well: quiet part – loud part – quiet part – loud part – quiet part – super loud part. No longer are they letting the songs flow and allowing them to develop from a whistle to a roaring thunder. Is it really that depressing? Is post-rock on its downfall? Well, apparently, cecilia::eyes prove everything aforesaid wrong. Their new album “Disappearance” is denying every bad thing I wrote about post-rock before. This Belgian band consisting of Christophe Thys, Mike Colart and Gauthier Vilain on guitars, Xavier Waerenburgh (currently replaced by Nicolas Denis) on drums and keyboard, Pascal Thys on bass and Arnaud Bailly as a sound engineer is a perfect example of a breath of fresh air in creation of soundscapes.
To begin with, some time ago I became annoyed by some bands that are being referred to as post-rock for their lack of innovation and repeating of standards set by bigger bands like Explosions in the Sky or God Is An Astronaut. I’m not saying that I don’t like EITS or GIAA, but listening to loads of music that sound like them is surely not a pleasurable activity. Cecilia::eyes are not this kind of band. Yes, they are instrumental, like most post-rock bands, and they do use lots of effects and pedals (especially delays!), like cliché post-rockers do, but they do it differently. Their goal is not to overdo a delayed guitar plunking, but to increase the tension slowly minute by minute. Therefore, structure of songs is one of the most remarkable things that make this album special.
RELEASE DATE: 12 May 2014 LABEL: dEPOT214
“Disappearance” contains seven compositions that can be compared to seven rivers – they just flow. Just like rivers, they have the points in which we can drift calmly with the mild current, but also the points when we are overwhelmed by its power and have nothing to do but to give into it. Just like in nature, the transition between these bipolar points is gradual and smooth. We almost cannot feel the current of the sound as it slowly overtakes us, allowing us to drown in harmonies. As the river consists of a single stream, songs on “Disappearance” are usually based on one theme, to which numerous tributaries are flowing in. There are no sudden transitions from quiet to loud, instead, musical motives are slowly developed by adding more and more sounds, until creating a dense wall of sound in the end. As for me, such composition has a much bigger impact on the listener, as it requires lots of focus and attention. In this way also, “Disappearance” can be listened to in two ways: either as a background, filling the space, or with full focus of the listener, which can get him into meditative altered states and cut him away from reality. The album is significantly coherent which increases its meditative qualities. Cecilia::eyes get their inspiration not only from post-rock. Actually, you can hear more ambient, shoegaze and even drone in their music. This eclecticism as well as skillful mixing of the genres defines the album and its uniqueness among others.
Cecilia::eyes is an experienced band, functioning on the underground stage since 2004. Therefore, their instrumentation is more sophisticated. They use electronic sounds very keenly and very successfully. This is the backbone of band’s spacious vibe, which can be compared to recent This Will Destroy You’s sound on “Tunnel Blanket”. On the basis of electronic background, three guitarists lay their tracks. Having three instruments of the same kind creates a risk that some tracks might be unnecessarily added. Cecilia::eyes, however, manage to use every guitar on record in a way that makes each of them sound as an integral and necessary part of songs. The best example of this, and also my top song on this record is “Loreta”. The rhythm section fulfills its task perfectly, enveloping guitarists with a smooth, yet decisive framing, and not allowing songs to fly away into space. Bass is very minimal and limited only to necessary sounds (sometimes even a single sound over the whole song like in “Swallow the Key”), however it does its job properly. Drumming, being limited as well, corresponds to bass very well. Each instrument used on the album has its place and is perfectly heard, making a listener not miss any sound, which makes “Disappearance” a masterpiece of production.
Being Cecilia::eyes’s fourth album, “Disappearance” is a proof that post-rock can still be fresh, surprising and innovative. Cecilia::eyes avoided being enclosed into post-rock clichés by experimenting with a number of similar genres. “Disappearance” is packed with feelings: from anxiety to beauty, from insecurity to enlightment. With this album cecilia::eyes present their maturity as a band. “Disappearance” is another level of development of their quite specific style. I can only hope that there will be more such levels in the future.