It has been a while since I have heard any activity from our post rock chums Pelican. Fortunately, after being in the wilderness for 3 years they have decided to grace us with their presence once more – this time in the form of the “Ataraxia / Taraxis” EP
It may only be an EP consisting of just four tracks, but nevertheless it’s a very clear reminder of what makes Pelican a very competent band. To those not in the know, they are a band that centres around creating an expansive, spiralling and swooping sound that certainly appeals to fans of Kyuss, Earth, and and the sorely missed Isis. The band is solely instrumental in nature and features no vocals, preferring to let the guitars and drums do the talking. This time around, the EP centres on fitting all what they can into tracks that are on average five minutes long rather than the spiralling twelve minute expansive soundscapes they have done previous. An interesting move, which serves as a taster and introduction for those who have never heard of the band before. Although, I do feel that maybe they felt their tunes noodled on for a bit too long and were probably concerned about being overly pretentious. This is just a random theory of mine that may be unfounded, however. Opinions vary.
Opening track ‘Ataraxia’ starts with a buzzing guitar feedback drone that sounds like a soaring aircraft, punctuated by spare singular keyboard notes and acoustic guitar before going into a full guitar rock out with ‘Lathe Biosas’. ‘Parasite Colony’ slows down the pace slightly, but still ebbs and flows with shimmering guitar work and prominent basslines underpinning the whole sonic tapestry that reminds me of Isis and Mastodon riffs put into a blender with an overall doom like flavour to the proceedings.
Closing track ‘Taraxis’ starts with shimmering acoustic guitar riffs that build up in layers, that are underpinned by fuzzy guitar squalls with an ongoing and cycling motif that is prevalent throughout the track. Halfway through the track, a singular keyboard note permeates a near silence that builds up some potent drama before heading into a full on foot stomping fuzzed rock out.
To conclude, Pelican have released a pretty decent EP out of the bag this time around – although I do wish they had made something longer like previous works of old. Instrumental bands can be a very ‘Marmite’ thing to some people, for example I reviewed Montressor‘s ‘Daybreak’ album for Alternative Matter and I felt that they were a very competent band but in general sounded as if they might have been trying to hard if that makes any sense. Fortunately, Pelican release fairly decent albums of the post rock genre that are never boring or sound too try. Good effort lads, and don’t leave it too long before you release your next work.