And So I Watch You from Afar - Gangs
And So I Watch You From Afar have always done things a bit differently to their counterparts. While most post rock bands focus on delicate chords and long, epic crescendos with explosive and chaotic climaxes, ASWIYFA are about going full blast with skilful musicianship and shifting time signatures, like Mogwai with more balls. ‘Gangs’ is the follow up to their incredible self-titled debut album. The problem with releasing such a great first album is always going to be trying to top it with the next album. Fortunately for them, they have done just that. With Gangs there is a strong feeling of refinement, where they have managed to take the best parts of their previous work and add even more elements to their sound, such as the more delicate atmospheres which can be found throughout the album. While some parts may seem a bit too familiar (recognise the gang vocals on 7 Billion People Alive At Once?) It’s still an immensely enjoyable listen. A usual mix of frantic hardcore, epic landscapes and math rock style time signatures are all present and better than ever. It’s difficult to find a single song to sum up the whole of this album. Songs range from the explosive, electronic tinged ‘Search:Party:Animal’ (which is even more awesome live), to the two part epic ‘Homes’ which takes a slightly more conventional post rock approach to their previous with its length (over 12 minutes) and masterfully built atmosphere- while still being unmistakeably ASIWYFA. However, this album is definitely best listened to as a whole. The best way to describe the album is as a journey, in every sense of the word. And So I Watch You From Afar are one of the most exciting bands around right now, and with good reason. So far they have managed to take post rock to epic, crushing and energetic new heights, and reinforce themselves as one of the best live acts the UK has to offer. Gangs is the manifesto of everything ASIWYFA have managed to achieve so far. My only question now, is how much better can they get?