People say that the more albums a band make the worse they get, look at Mogwai for instance. Yeah, I said it. With Caspian, it’s the exact opposite. Waking Season is their third full length studio album, and I’m going in strong by saying this, and at such an early stage, but it is without a doubt their best work yet. The awesome combination of electronics and instrumentation, the unquestionable production and quality of sound, the almost orgasmic crescendos, they have it all. It’s fucking wondrous.
The album starts off with the title track Waking Season, which builds up to what you think is going to be a premature nut-sack emptying climax, but it's merely a teaser. It brings you right up to the vinegar stroke and stops, we wouldn’t want to shoot our load so quickly now, would we? Procellous starts with some wobbly guitar plucks, as if its being played through an old tape player. It keeps stretching out and ever so slightly elongating the notes; what sounds like some little vocal glitches meander through into the usual delay-stricken twiddles and the stop/start guitar stab elevates it to a glorious harmonic ending. Gone in Bloom and Bough is the album's epic, weighing in on the strong side of the ten minute marker. It starts off with ambient swells and a reversed guitar effect, accompanied by distant drums and an extra guitar line. Somewhat digitised drums plough through into the forefront along with a reverb-soaked vocal to top it off. After a brief reprise it lurches toward a crescendo that lasts longer than some of the other songs.
Halls of Summer, which I think is my favorite on the album, uses an unplugged guitar to start off the rhythm followed by the clash of electronic drums. It gives way to a harrowing piano sound with the usual epic closing. I think this track is to Caspian what Moonlight is to Mono. High Lonesome is a beat-less swell of cinematic chords, serving as an intro into Hickery ’54. A really wet sounding kick drum and tambourine overlay provide you with the 4/4 marching beat, whilst the spurs of transient glockenspiel and elegant guitar plunges you into euphoria. The album closer Fire made Flesh with its synthesised droning backdrop, stabby guitar rhythm and ringing delays finish off what seems to be the best post-rock album of 2012 perfectly.
A Caspian song is a journey; firstly they open the doors of their aural stronghold onto a wondrously idyllic plateau. They then lead you out to a fancy table decorated with the finest china, give you a beautiful woman and serve you matured porterhouse steak accompanied with a bottle of perfectly-aged cabernet sauvignon. There's a sorbet to cleanse your pallet, and a nice oak barreled thirty year single malt. Surreptitiously sneaking a pack of rubbers into your lapel pocket, they guide you to a four poster bed on the edge of waterfall where you can finish the night with a fast paced crescendo of your very own. Yes, it’s a largely formulaic approach to writing songs, but fuck me it’s a great formula. There aren’t many bands that can do this so well, and for me they win at post-rock every time.
Posted: Sat 29 September 2012