You’re reading me, so you’ve likely read me, and if you’ve read me, you know I went through a pretty deep post rock phase a couple of years ago, and it was a good time. I have nothing but fond memories of it. I was – sure, I guess, still am – a bit of what the call a “catharsis junkie,” a sometimes derisive term denoting the fascination with and/or outright clamoring for the emotional crescendos that accompany the dynamics of post rock performances. See, a lot of bands within this style – and the obvious poster child is Explosions in the Sky – compose for the right brain, the quadrant where all the feeling is, and are adept at building up and crashing, deliberately hitting that sweet spot that raises goosebumps.
Loraine is no different. They can do that – they utilize tones with that feeling, they get there with ease. Their songs begin as diminutive indie rock tunes, parts are added, crescendos are built, and then they crash back down to earth, leaving you feeling just a little bit better about yourself. It’s textbook – the guitar lines of “After Everything, More than Anything” weave back and forth, and they culminate in a distorted, cymbal-crashing anthem where any audience member who doesn’t have his or her hands raised to heaven will likely be glared at disapprovingly by peers. Oh, and they don’t take ten, fifteen, twenty minutes to get there – on An Autumn Evening, they’re in and out before the clock strikes six minutes on every single track.
I’m probably oversimplifying the mechanics and the delivery, but too much post rock will do that to you, make you cynical and more likely to write off a quality band just because they’re doing what the other guys are doing. Loraine is a quality band – they’re doing it right. (Even if the band name could use some work.) The spots are sweet, the peaks are high, the valleys are deftly executed. I like this record, doggone it. I like how the guitars mimic music box chimes on “Heaven,” how “Hello, Morning” revs into something much more marshal mid-song before positively gleaming by the end, and how the record opens with a 38-second sound snippet called “…Kablooie.” And of course the best part of all is the divebombing guitar two-thirds of the way through “Jonathan Lou (1912)” – I don’t want to get all mushy or over-dramatic about anything here (that’s part of the problem with this style of music anyway, it can get cloying in a hurry), but man, is that a high point.
I was pretty positive I wasn’t going to give straight post rock bands a spin for this column, just because I wasn’t sure what to write about them anymore. I used up all my adjectives, just like I was positive there wasn’t anything new to discover within this particular genre. But you know what? It ends up not even mattering, because there’s still a lot to feel good about when those guitars ring and those drums crash and you can breathe deep and be glad you’re alive. I needed that pick-me-up today, so I’m glad I gave Loraine a shot. They didn’t disappoint.
RIYL: Explosions in the Sky