Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Tracklist1. I’ll be at Your Wedding
2. Strangers in Matching Suits
3. With Bells On
4. A Breakup Song
6. Funeral March
7. Bookmark Amadeus
8. We’re In Trouble but We Don’t Know What to Do
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The genre of post-rock first emerged in the mid-90s when bands like Bark Psychosis and Disco Inferno began deconstructing the building blocks of rock and pop. Though the genre was founded by this spirit of experimentation, its popularity of late has resulted in a waning of originality due to many bands who are content with regurgitation. This shouldn’t really be a surprise though; every genre sets sail on its own unique path, but is eventually engulfed by a sea of imposters. However, you can argue here that post-rock is not like any other genre, simply for the fact that it’s innately marked by its originality and experimentation.
This argument has lead to the biggest debate amongst the genre’s patrons - originality vs. execution: which is more important? Now 8 out of 10 times, I myself would probably choose execution over originality, mainly for the reason that these albums are generally more emotionally demanding. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy and appreciate bands that are completely cutting edge like Battles and Silencio, but to be honest, I find them rather heartless. Bands that can combine the two are obviously markedly important.
Now cue in redlightchamberchoir (Red Light Chamber Choir,) who is a six piece band from my now favorite city to pronounce, Ypsilanti, Michigan, who play a brand of classically infused post-rock. RLCC is a prime example of the execution sector of the genre. Their debut album we’reintroublebutwedon’tknowwhattodo (that’s We’re In Trouble But We Don’t Know What To Do) is a very well-executed work of traditional post-rock. From an originality standpoint, there isn’t too much on this album that hasn’t been done before - a lot of the album is reminiscent of genre figureheads like Godspeed You! Black Emperor (minus the 5 minutes of light static and political rants) and Mogwai. However, from an execution standpoint, this album is pretty ace. RLCC has entirely mastered the traditional post-rock formula and has put their own slight touch on it.
The most notable tracks on we’reintroublebutwedon’tknowwhattodo would have to be “Strangers in Matching Suits” and “Funeral March.” “Strangers in Matching Suits” starts off with a very western feel – the wind blows the dust in the air under the hot sun while a somewhat haunting piano plays the tune of the uninvited hero arriving to town. Soon enough all the other instruments chime in one by one further layering the soundscape until the song builds up into a glorious tremolo.
“Funeral March” sounds exactly like what its name implies. Marching drums give the impression that something is devastatingly imminent, as if two opposing sides are staring each other down before they make their march towards one another. Mourning strings then chime in, giving you the awful feeling that some serious shit is going to go down right here. The instruments then quicken their pace as the two side start their approach. Everything then builds and builds into a clamorous uproar until both sides have slaughtered enough, culminating the battle.
As you can see, we’reintroublebutwedon’tknowwhattodo is nothing vastly original – drums march, guitars roar, and strings haunt. However, RLCC do very well at what they do and they have tremendous amounts of potential. Honestly, if I could put my money on one band to make a devastatingly good album in the future, it would be RLCC. However, at this point, I don’t feel that enough of the band’s identity has been reflected through their music, making the album feel a bit emotionally stagnant.
So in the end, we’reintroublebutwedon’tknowwhattodo is a nicely executed traditional post-rock album that would be a great introduction for those who are just getting into post-rock and has the potential to be a favorite amongst many. However, at this point RLCC is a few pieces shy of making something really special.