Posted by: dougery | July 31, 2007

City of Echoes

When i moved to Chicago ages and ages ago (something approaching 5 years), i was immediately excited about “the scene.” “The scene” is a bit of a deceptive name, it’s never as vague as all that, it almost always refers to a particular city’s artistic community, most commonly it’s music environment. And that’s what I was excited about. Finally, finally I lived in a city where musicians would stop practically every tour. Sometimes twice. And if you are Gogol Bordello, sometimes thrice.

The first band I saw play live here in the Second City, was a then little known prog-metal outfit named Pelican. They fill a fairly specific niche. Their music has no lyrics, their songs sometimes last for 10 minutes or more and can be, at times, labyrinthine. They have a penchant for unforgivable song titles like “Winds with Hands” and “Spaceship Broken: Parts needed.” I had come to some ratty little club off the Brown line to see a band whose name now escapes me, something hardcore, you can see how much of an impression they made on me, and the opening act was Pelican. To say I was floored is a bit of an overstatement. But i was impressed.

Now it’s 5 years and two Pelican albums later and I’m a bit giddy with my love for this band. Their most recent album, City of Echoes, is another decisive step forward. It has a raw quality to it that its predecessor lacked. As good as The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw it does have a polished, symphony-esque sweep to it. One could set an Opera to the Fire. Echoes sounds like an album forged by immediate emotion. pain or love or frustration or wonder or something, it’s off the cuff, almost jazz-like, at times much quieter than what has come before, and it’s growing on me.


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