Pelican - City of Echoes

Rating

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RIYL

Red Sparowes
Isis
Neurosis
Jesu

Label

Hydra Head

Tracklist

1. Bliss in Concrete
2. City Of Echoes
3. Spaceship Broken-Parts Needed
4. Winds With Hands
5. Dead Between The Walls
6. Lost In The Headlights
7. Far From Fields
8. Delicate Sense Of Balance

Users Rating

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4 ratings

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Over the past few years, the genre of post-rock has sky-rocketed in popularity. Many thanks go to Pelican for helping this happen. Their past two albums Australasia and The Fire in our Throats will Beckon the Thaw were massive and helped bridge the gap between metal and post-rock. These albums were heavy, yet atmospheric at the same time, and always left you with a punched in the gut feeling. However, Pelican’s latest affair, City of Echoes, fails to deliver that crucial blow.

After many listens to City of Echoes, I’ve realized that I can sum up the entire album with just four words and their definitions from dictionary.com. They are:

Uninspired:
1. Not inspired; not creative or spirited
2. Having no intellectual, emotional, or spiritual excitement

The main downfall of City of Echoes is that is has no heart. Their past albums were living, breathing beings. City of Echoes is not. On City of Echoes Pelican simply sounds like a band trying to sound like Pelican and coming up short. Parts seem to have been thrown on the album as if they were Pelican requirements, making the entire album sound sloppy and incohesive. For example, “Winds with Hands” is an acoustic track, which serves absolutely no purpose on the album. All momentum created by the previous tracks is destroyed. Why? Because City of Echoes needs to have a token acoustic track on it so it can be just like its predecessors.

Besides sounding like a sloppy series of moments, another aspect of City of Echoes that is lacking is scale. Their past two albums consisted of massive songs that slowly built up to heavy climaxes. However, the songs on City of Echoes are merely bite-sized nuggets of Pelican with the majority of them sounding as if the band was consciously playing against the huge climax, thus leaving the songs sounding directionless and with no meaning. This is not the Pelican that created elephantine instrumental rock.

Thin:
1. Lacking fullness or volume; weak and shrill
2. Without force or a sincere effort

One of the main reasons why the songs on City of Echoes sound dull (besides the snooze-inducing drumming) is the production. What makes Pelican, Pelican, is their heaviness. The production on their records is thick like molasses, making the guitar riffs sound huge and powerful and creating an otherworldly atmosphere. However, the production on City of Echoes is too clean, leaving the guitars sounding paper thin and weak. What is Pelican without their heavy guitars?

Ephemeral:
1. Lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory
2. Fleeting, evanescent, transient, momentary, brief

With all of this being said, there are a few moments on City of Echoes where Pelican do shine. “Bliss in Concrete” starts off the record pretty strong and gets a bit exciting 3/4 of the way through. The introduction to “Dead between Walls” is strong and exhibits your traditional Pelican, though it does sound like a knockoff of “Drought”. The best track on the album is “Far From Fields”, on which Pelican does not shy away from sounding like a post-rock band and allows the climax to come naturally without having a forced Pelican sound.

But all these moments are ephemeral. They come to treat your senses, but before you can thoroughly enjoy them they are quick to disappear and be readily replaced with the ongoing influx of dullness on City of Echoes

Disappointing:
1. Failing to fulfill one's hopes or expectations

When you search for “Pelican” on Google, you find that it says “We're a fucking triumphant band” underneath the link to the band’s website. There is no such triumph in City of Echoes, however.

--Armand Babian

Author

babarm87
Last updated: 09/29/2009 08:59PM

Comments

wearyourwounds
05/08/2007
06:45AM
Location
32210
agreed. there are just too many awesome new instrumental bands coming out doing what pelican does better than pelican. disappointment of the year.
Rick Gebhardt
05/08/2007
06:57AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota
Pelican... oh poor Pelican. What happened? I mean, this is a passable album, but it's easily the weakest group of songs they've put together. Sad pants.

Find me EVERYWHERE:




schenkers
05/08/2007
07:53AM
I wasn't really feeling this album either as much as their past efforts. I can definitely agree with a 2 to 3 star rating.
GrindTylerCore
05/08/2007
08:58AM
Location
Olathe, Kansas
i disagree whole-heartedly. it might not be as fresh sounding as the first two, but saying it's uninspired is ridiculous. and who does this sound better? Red Sparowes? no. Russian Circles? nope. one of the recent bandwagon hoppers? not a chance.
Denizen
05/08/2007
09:47AM
Location
Bedford, OH
Lost In The Headlights is the only song I seem to be coming back to.

rasta

babarm87
05/08/2007
09:54AM
Location
Los Angeles
GrindTylerCore
who does this sound better?


Pelican
ctsdrums
05/08/2007
10:30AM
yeah I have to disagree also. I was pretty impressed by this album. There have a been a TON of great post-rock, instrumental albums released over the past couple months or so, so this record could easily have been lost in the shuffle. But unlike MANY post-rock bands, Pelican does not attempt to rip-off Explosions in the Sky on every song. I will agree that City of Echoes is not Australasia. But come on - this record is sick dude. You're wrong.
Rick Gebhardt
05/08/2007
10:39AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota
This record is not sick, but this cat is...

Find me EVERYWHERE:




babarm87
05/08/2007
10:43AM
Location
Los Angeles
cat pics don't lie.
the blakible
05/08/2007
10:48AM
Location
Richmond, VA
I've only heard the title track, but I like it pretty much the same as all the old albums. Sure it's different, but I still like it.
GrindTylerCore
05/08/2007
11:30AM
Location
Olathe, Kansas
ctsdrums
But unlike MANY post-rock bands, Pelican does not attempt to rip-off Explosions in the Sky on every song.


exactly. not to mention they brought back some of that heavy dirge type stuff from the first EP and i actually think the shorter songs were the right way to go. its easier to distinguish the songs from one another and makes the album scoot along at a different pace than their previous albums. i'd give it a 4.5 and the other full-lengths 5.
babarm87
05/08/2007
11:43AM
Location
Los Angeles
Tyler, I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!
cloudscollide
05/08/2007
11:59AM
Age: 25
Location
PA
True, they don't rip off EITS but still...I enjoyed the last release much more.
awake_and_avenge
05/08/2007
12:09PM
Age: 31
Location
Tucson, AZ
Couldn't get into this.
lpshinobi
05/08/2007
01:47PM
Age: 25
Location
VT
*yawn*

My Top Songs of '09
The Appleseed Cast//as the little things go
Caspian//sycamore
Sunwrae//Chinook Winds
Dredg//down to the seller
If These Trees Could Talk//the sun is in the north
From Monument to Masses//an ounce of prevention
Straylight Run//i'm through with the past


LpShinobi's Post-Rock and Shoegazing Recommendation, via YouTube

Lpshinobi's Post-Rock Band, New Song Posted

Bukkakeface
05/08/2007
02:45PM
Age: 32
Location
Telford, PA
As much as I hate to, I have to agree with the review. This album didn't do anything for me like the everything before it has.
Jet Set Paul
05/08/2007
04:09PM
Either way, this should still be a good album to listen to while I'm studying for finals.
monkeybars
05/08/2007
05:16PM
Age: 28
Location
Markham, ON
I find it hard to listen to bands like Pelican critically. They're not bands I really get into, because when I put it on, it just becomes something I listen to while I'm doing something else, I never can focus on just the music.

P.S. This is what the alphabet would look like if you removed Q and R.

sir mix-a-lot
05/08/2007
06:32PM
Location
Sacramento, CA
didn't even know this was out. based on the review, i guess i'll pretend i still don't.

anyway, russian circles is badass to the maxxx.

I'm not here to make things better; only to observe and pass judgement.

Originally stated by Scott Miller
It's like talking into a mirror!
Michael Smer
05/08/2007
06:38PM
Age: 29
ctsdrums
yeah I have to disagree also. I was pretty impressed by this album. There have a been a TON of great post-rock, instrumental albums released over the past couple months or so, so this record could easily have been lost in the shuffle. But unlike MANY post-rock bands, Pelican does not attempt to rip-off Explosions in the Sky on every song. I will agree that City of Echoes is not Australasia. But come on - this record is sick dude. You're wrong.


Explosions In The Sky, while I do like them, rip-off Godspeed! and Sigur Ros hard, so let's not make them the unique originals of this genre.
babarm87
05/08/2007
06:53PM
Location
Los Angeles
Michael Smer
Explosions In The Sky, while I do like them, rip-off Godspeed! and Sigur Ros hard, so let's not make them the unique originals of this genre.


what?
madaemanon
05/08/2007
08:19PM
I loved Australasia. Wasn't too keen on The Fire... this album I only listened to briefly but to me it sounded a bit more like Australasia, which made me happy.
Michael Smer
05/08/2007
09:00PM
Age: 29
babarm87
what?


That's not a response. Listen to Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Sigur Ros and take certain aspects of both of those bands that have been around far longer than EITS and you get an EITS album.
babarm87
05/08/2007
09:14PM
Location
Los Angeles
Michael Smer
That's not a response. Listen to Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Sigur Ros and take certain aspects of both of those bands that have been around far longer than EITS and you get an EITS album.


2-3 years is far longer?

those three bands have virtually nothing in common other than writing long instrumental songs.
Genre: Corecore
05/09/2007
01:36PM
Location
St. Louis, MO
You know, just because a band isn't ripping off of EITS doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of other criteria by which we should still consider their album a bad record. What points Pelican gains for "non-EITSness" in City of Echoes is easily lost by the over-all shoddy quality of the music.

It's a pity, too. The Fire in Our Throats... is one of my top 5 instrumental releases.

~Tom



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