Being new to the world of post-metal, I was genuinely unsure what the genre could offer me. In fact it’s fair to say I was more than a little bit dubious about the whole thing. Thank heavens then for Sydney’s Dumbsaint, along with several other post-metal bands I’ve reviewed recently, who have proved beyond doubt why it’s such a fascinating, rewarding form of music. It encompasses so many emotions and moods that one cannot help but enjoy it.
“Something That You Feel Will Find Its Own Form” is an album that rewards multiple listens; the first is really to absorb the album as an ensemble piece, to soak up the songs and start to get to grips with the structure. Subsequent listens then allow you to tune your ears to each of the musicians: to Ron Prince’s guitar, James Thomas’s bass and Nick Andrews’ drums. Each instrument provides a complete, self-contained listening experience that can be enjoyed in its own right, as well as within the framework of the band; closer listening allows a greater appreciation of the subtlety and detail that makes up this album.
Dumbsaint are known in part for their installations, combining music with film. It’s no surprise, then, that film has been a big influence here, with each track like the soundtrack to its own movie; these are not traditional song structures, but more like aural explorations. The job of the listener is to provide the images that accompany the music using his or her own imagination. If one is prepared to immerse oneself fully in the music of Dumbsaint, it is a very rewarding experience.
Opener “Rivers Will Be Crossed” starts with melodic guitar and bass that has echoes of The Cure (but which is still very much post-metal), before heading off into uncharted musical territory; heavy and quiet sections are combined as the song roams tirelessly across great swathes of the musical landscape. “Cinematic” gives a pretty big clue to the band’s influences, utilising heavy math rock rhythms as well as quieter sections where the drums really come to the fore.
“Lying In Sign” is urgent, playing with both rhythm and dynamics throughout its eight and a half minutes’ duration. Each song on the album is fairly lengthy, allowing Dumbsaint to explore ideas fully. “Don’t Forget To Bring Down The Sky” is a contender for the best song title of the year, its atmospheric sound almost hypnotic in its execution.
“INT. A CHEERLESS ROOM. A MAN IS SCARED.” points again to very obvious cinematic influences, making use of vocal samples (the only voices you’ll hear on this album). Each musician provides so many ideas – in terms of tone, rhythm and melody – that once the song is finished, it cries out to be played again. “Inwaking” begins quietly and sedately, building to a heavy crescendo, and then fading back into the serenity from which it came.
“She Was His” contains a whole story in just the title and it’s up to the listener to interpret it through the music. By turns mellow, angry, restrained and heavy, each section introduces a different musical theme, all of them tied together seamlessly to create the longest song on the album.
Closing song “I Am An Image” is an epic musical journey for the listener, beginning atmospherically, ending with a big, dramatic finish; and covering much musical ground in between. It provides the perfect finish to the album.
There is a great parallel to be drawn with the inspiration for the band’s name, Jack Kerouac. His most famous book is about a journey: physically and metaphysically; “And Something That You Feel Will Find Its Own Form” takes the listener on a journey that works on many levels, conscious and unconscious, cerebral and visceral. Time invested travelling with Dumbsaint will always be rewarding, no matter how times the journey is undertaken.