Florida’s Set And Setting have been fairly quiet the last few years, since the release of their last album “A Vivid Memory”. Clearly, they have put a lot of care into their newest LP, “Reflectionless,” and it resulted in something that won’t be soon forgotten.
RELEASE DATE: 27 January 2017 LABEL: Dunk!records & Science of Silence Records
Speaking for myself, I am a huge fan of “Equanimity”, their debut LP from 2013. It has everything from soaring e-bow guitars over blast beats, to long and drawn out ambience with neo-classical accompaniments. It hits every single nerve in my brain, and lands on every target I look for in an album. “A Vivid Memory” was a bit of a misstep in my book, but they have more than redeemed themselves with “Reflectionless”, an album I can’t seem to put down these days. Even when I think about listening to something else, even the radio, I end up putting on “Reflectionless” anyways.
Taking a step away from traditional post-rock and a step towards post-metal/progressive metal, Set And Setting are adeptly exploring much more aggressive regions of music. This becomes obvious from the very beginning of ‘Saudade’ when they tempt you to headbang within seconds of starting. The expansive lows and highs of every track will encapsulate you in a sonic cocoon one second, and then drag you through sludgy breakdowns the next. My brother disliked one track, saying it was like “Trying to defeat a mud monster using musical instruments.” I agree with him, but I feel like that’s exactly what makes Set And Setting so damn good.
The album as a whole actually reminds me of “Equanimity” in the way that it flows from one song to the next. They loudly proclaim who they are and why they’re here in the first few songs, slow down a bit in the middle with a more ambient sort of feel with bits of electronic implements, and then blast the listener away with walls of sound on the last two tracks. It makes for a sort of familiarity as a listener, it’s a formula of composition that Set And Setting has mastered; how to draw in and keep a set of ears entertained.
There’s no lack of talent on the technical side of things, either. The utilization of stereo is astonishing, it’s like there’s one drummer per ear, and its full sound is absolutely delightful. The warmth of the bass and the 2nd guitar contrast beautiful against the bright lead guitar’s soaring e-bow, a classic Set And Setting tonality that spreads across all three of their records. My one complaint about the production is the snare drums, I feel like there is a distinct lack of pop, especially during the blast beats. Other than that, I can’t find anything wrong with this album at all. That’s a surprisingly small list of issues for such a long album from a band I have been rather harsh with in the past.
My love affair with Set And Setting continues with the remarkable album that is “Reflectionless” and I hope it only deepens from here on out. I love this album wholeheartedly, and I would recommend it to literally anyone who has an ear for instrumental anything.