DiS has already highlighted a pair of breaking-through New Zealand acts this year – check our South By Southwest preview pieces (here and here) for the low-down on Cut Off Your Hands and So So Modern – but the third to come under our critical eye (or should that be ear?) since the beginning of 2007 is a very different prospect. Forget dancing in the aisles – Jakob craft music for the most grand of funerals.
Solace is post-rock of body but thoroughly metal of heart; across its seven tracks the listener is reminded of the likes of Isis and Mogwai, albeit sans vocals, as echoes of the pair’s previous offerings filter through layers of meticulously crafted and expertly executed instrumental rock music. The guitars employed here sound as if they’re being plucked at with diamonds, their strings forged from the finest gold; drums are pounded as if announcing the declaration of war, or the passing of a most-loved and celebrated monarch. All must know; all do know.
But despite epic promise, Jakob’s fourth LP (the band – Jeff Boyle, Maurice Beckett and Jason Johnston – formed in 1998) never truly delivers: songs are built up gradually and delicately, and each and every prologue offered is of an outstanding quality. Then the meat of each piece emerges, the central cores, and these are fine, too. But where are the climaxes? The trio forever suggest that something stunning is all of seconds away from erupting in the listener’s ear, yet said explosions never materialise. Returning to a parallel briefly, there’s nothing here to match the fantastically spine-tingling conclusion of Isis’ ‘From Sinking’, even though the scene-setting on Solace is every bit as good as that of Oceanic. Songs, sadly, splutter to an end. They don’t ever combust in a shower of firework sparkles and neon smoke.
Solace is great mood music – it’ll be ideal listening for the discerning post-rocker kicking back after a hard day’s grind. Just ensure you don’t need to bring the washing in, feed the cat or write any important cheques before pressing play, as the lack of widescreen wig-out wipeouts to match repeatedly exquisite opening scenes throughout this LP will render the listener utterly lethargic, comatose even, by its end.
6Mike Diver's Score