There’s a special something about people from Western Australia. The maps and atlases there all show just two states of Australia; WA; and Over East. Over here in OE, we just don’t understand. Sure they are as friendly and welcoming as anyone else, but don’t try to tell them how to do things. Unless you want to deal with the consequences of underestimating the inhabitants of the state with the most remote capital city in the world (OK, so second most remote by about 30km).
This could go some way to explain “Deaden the Fields” by Tangled Thoughts of Leaving. In a country with an instrumental rock scene climbing the crest of a wave, the guys from Perth have caught their own. It’s some of the finest progressive, experimental post-rock you will hear.
Led by exceptional piano, Tangled Thoughts of Leaving are the sort of rock band that would be at home performing to the Perth arts set at His Majesty’s Theatre, then nipping down to the Bakery for an early morning gig for the rock crowd.
Just three of the songs on the record run a total near 45 minutes, with three more shorter tracks bumping your listening pleasure up another 20 but you lose all sense of time as they flow into each other and themes return here and there in true concept album style. Whereas their earlier EP was much more spasmodic and frantic, “Deaden the Fields” pulls it back, allowing the technical brilliance of the compositions to shine and become more relaxed and listenable. There’s still plenty of changes of tempo and dynamics and you never know when the music will knock you off your feet.
Opener “Landmarks” goes through many moods and tempos. There’s none of the gradual crescendo of most post-rock over the 17 minutes – changes in volume are instant and dramatic. Nor is there repetition- hands run up and down the keyboard as guitar, drums and synth surround the rich, rolling piano phrases. There’s no chugging metal guitar, no tremolo or noodling. It’s all about those white and black keys, and they take the song out with a wonderful flourish.
“Throw Us to the Wind” continues with fast erratic piano but slows early and is manipulated as it becomes a series of arpeggios. The song is filled with playful, taunting arrangements that dare you to get into the flow then trip you as soon as you do.
After the shorter, more peaceful and more consistent sound of “…And Sever Us From The Present” we are drawn deep into the eleven-minute centrepiece “Deep Rivers Run Quiet”, a bold and solemn exercise in pattern and structure.
The title track has a clever surprise near the end for those of us who are floating while the closer takes a little from everything to date, finds a new groove for guitar and bass, and presents us with drumming as good as you will find anywhere. It’s one of the most perfect conclusions to a record I’ve heard.
This is an inspired and memorable debut album. Rather than filling it with every sound and style Tangled Thoughts of Leaving can come up with, it’s made from a few fine quality ingredients and extraordinary compositional and performance skills. It’s a level of confidence in their sound and abilities that should see them garner and build significant acclaim and success over coming years.