I'll begin this review with a little honesty: I’ve been sat facing my computer screen for around half an hour, digitally pencilling and scratching out lines for an introduction to Aereogramme's fourth full-length album, My Heart Has A Wish That You Would Not Go. I've tried many different methods: punchy one-liners strewn with no structure, elegant passages littered with poetic terminology, even a dick joke. But as I find myself nearing a dozen restarts I begin to think that maybe honesty is the best policy. Surely it's better to write from the heart than to cover up moments of uncertainty and creative struggle with fallacious clarity?
It's nothing less than Aereogramme deserve, as the release in question is one of the most defining, yet joyfully free-spirited, albums you will hear all year. Yes, musically the songs housed in this ten-track collection jut out at a near-right angle to the band's earlier material, but even without the usual PR fanfare and proclamation of a band stating they have reached their creative peak and created a piece of work that captures them at their best, you feel they have done just that.
At which point it’s probably a good idea to explain what the album actually sounds like. Those expecting anything resembling the post-metal wall-of-soundscapes of old may be found wanting as on My Heart Has A Wish..., velocity and intensity wise, Aereogramme have shifted several gears down, with only one track featuring a distorted guitar and front man Craig’s vocals staying several light years away from anything resembling a throaty scream.
However, whilst this album may not be as visceral as earlier efforts, it is no less epic. A switch from stepping on a distortion pedal to segueing in a string section to compliment the build-up of songs is a welcome change and a perfect accompaniment to the note-perfect lulls that now form the structure of Aereogramme’s sound.
Yet defining their sound in relation to that of others is no less of a problem. Comparisons to previous tour-mates ISIS are now worthless rather than half-arsed, with references to Anathallo's celebratory hymns mulled over in Kayo Dot's jet-black mausoleum being closer to the mark in relation to tracks 'Living Backwards' and (personal) album highlight 'The Running Man'.
Whether the band’s progression from cranium-polishing doom-metal dirges to heart-swelling anthems is a product of evolution or of a will for a sudden left turn is irrelevant. Call me naive, or purely a lazy journalist without a central idea, but sometimes it’s nice to appreciate something purely for what it is. Here, Aereogramme have created something more than deserving of all the praise lavished upon it.
9Jordan Dowling's Score