Expanding Into Mediocrity

From Fathoms is the follow-up to a relatively successful debut called Loyal Eyes Betrayed The Mind. While it may not have had the sprawling, overabundant, and sometimes over flamboyant style as a traditional post-rock groups go, their style is quite rare in the genre and is still thought after as a post-rock band first then second. Loyal Eyes Betrayed The Mind was for the most part, purely guitar driven. Their style could be compared to another relatively odd post-rock group called Grails or even Russian Circles. Yet, with their small existence they carved up a solid record with some interesting results. Showing their musical roots with "Early Morning Ambulance", the unmistakable post-rock influence in "In The Company of Others", while flexing electronic backgrounds in "Miles of White". 3 years after showing some promise, the group have released From Fathoms this year.

Easily throughout the album you notice a key element within most of these songs: they're crafted well enough for you to enjoy, but once you begin to attach yourselves to a brief period of their pandering in their uproarious guitar lifts in their short post-rock extravaganzas you immediately succumb to disappointment with its short time span. While the electronic influences are in full-form and aren't skimmed over as they were in Loyal Eyes Betrayed The Mind it isn't enough to keep the listener interested entirely. Oddly enough vocals are in play, if vaguely you consider them a part of the song. Almost Isis-like in nature, but entirely toned down, From Fathoms plays around with low, muddled, and mostly unrecognizable lyrics, while the previous album strayed from all of this. There are a rare exceptions to this rule: a quick assault of post-rock sweetness is ferocious and beautiful in the short span of 4 minutes in "Weightless Frame" and completely switches up halfway through with acoustic strings, harmonized vocals that can only be determined to be something-like "Come" being hymned, even imploring to use the harmonica for some brief periods in its later half. That may be the best example to see how far they're trying to reach here, yet they still encompass some of those elements throughout the album in short spans, it just doesn't work as it should. The lone perfections within this album is by far "Resurface" and "Thawed Horizon", which successfully melds all of what was meant to be on this album, gradually pushing forward with high-paced eruption of post-rock and passionate vocals.

Those relatively new sounds components are what signals Gifts From Enola's newest album is really about. Their previously minimalistic influences are brought to the forefront along for the ride with their post-rock glory. This may sound all well and good, but there's one trying problem. Unfortunately it doesn't always work, from the electronic transitions, post-rock traditional appearances of strings, and yes the power cord sort as well. Much like Russian Circles' debut Enter impressed, their follow-up Station wasn't anything progressive and only mildly interesting. Gifts From Enola suffers the same fate, not with its non-progressive thought process, but their problems to establish a single unity within its structure from all its directionless deliberation. "Weightless Thought" sounds like a rendition of "Weightless Frame", only the opposite with an dreary and calm electronic transition. Understandably they're linked, but the song adds nothing to the process and is only time wasted. From Fathoms sees a band trying to reach too far, with too much in their hands. It's fantastic that they're trying to expand their sound with a different approaches, if not for a few inspired moments within most of these songs this would feel entirely mediocre and as a result From Fathoms can't help, but feel cluttered.

Grade: C


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