Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The Appleseed Cast - Sagarmatha

Released February 17, 2009

Listen to some songs here.

I am becoming steadily more convinced that post-rock is the next step after emo. Juvenile frustration becomes metaphysical agony. The end of high school becomes the end of the universe. And minor chords become epic crescendos.

Lawrence Kansas's Appleseed Cast have followed this progression. About a decade ago they were making cute, clashing punk with bright underlying melodies. Now they are making grand rock compositions.

The transition really came with 2006's Peregrine, which saw the band exploring powerful themes and large instrumentation. They expand on that here, and become even larger on Sagamartha (which, un-coincidentally, is the Nepalese name for Mount Everest).

With 5 out of 9 songs clocking in at over 6 minutes in length--and with much of the album being absent of any vocals--Sagamartha is a rather standard post-rock album. The first track even, "As the Little Things Go," has a strong semblance to Explosions in the Sky material. So if this album is nothing new or profound, why you might ask, is it being featured here? Because it is a pleasure to listen to.

The biggest achievement that Appleseed Cast find on Sagamartha, is the ability to fill hooks into their songs without using vocals. Singer, Christopher Crisci, has long been the focal point of the band, but that is not the case for much of the album. Instead, bright and playful guitars draw into steady, encouraging drumming. Despite much of the darker tones of Mare Vitalis, Sagamartha is rather uplifting.

Still, many of the highlights of the album involve Crisci's voice. And Sagamartha is not a full departure from where the band was ten years ago. The band has grown up, and its sound has grown larger, but they still create bright, pockets of hope that are fueled from life's many foibels.

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