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Album Review: Heirs by And So I Watch You From Afar

Belfast’s And So I Watch You From Afar release their fourth album Heirs on the 4th May. As their career has proved to date they are a band capable of progression and unafraid to push the boundaries of their largely instrumental math / post – rock sound. It takes the best elements of their previous three albums coming out as a deeply personal album, “Its central theme is about the inheritance of ideas,” the band says. “In that we’re all heirs to other peoples’ passion, which in turn inspires ourselves.”

With Heirs And So I Watch You From Afar have carved out a sound that mixes the raw energy and passion of their 2009 self titled debut, the groove and intricacies of 2011’s Gangs and the vocal progression of 2013’s All Hail Bright Futures. Taken as a whole it could easily be considered their strongest (and most accessible) to date.

The band describe the underlying feeling of Heirs the best: “It’s called Heirs as a tribute to a lot of new people who came into all our lives during the writing and recording of the album — lots of nephews and Johnny had a daughter, Eisa,” Friers explains. “It seems like the songs soaked up all those feelings we had during the writing. Because making the album was such an intentionally intense and full time experience none of us where listening to much other music or even experiencing much else outside of it. So, it feels like a very pure representation of what happens when these four people decide to make music together. It was a very intense time and the record has been shaped by that.”

With that you’ll find there to be many personal and moving moments with Heirs. Perhaps most notably in the epic title track ‘Heirs’ you’ll find the core of the album and the emotions that went into it. It’s a phenomenal track that within its 7 minutes takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions from the extreme highs to the more introspective. It’s when And So I Watch You From Afar let the music do the talking that they are at their very best.

Conversely, Heirs sees the most vocal content of any of the bands output and it’s still as powerful and commanding as anything they’ve done before. ‘Run Home’ hits you with a flurry of hammer-on guitar notes that send a shiver down the spine, the chants of “run home” add a texture that pumps the track before the quiet interlude gives the track a haunting air. The track explodes in glorious style in a wash of intricate guitars and Chris Wee’s trademark double time drums. Goosebumps ahoy! The vocal melody of ‘These Secret Kings I Know’ work really well adding another texture to the bands arsenal. It doesn’t hit you immediately, yet after a few listens it will sit as one of the strongest tracks on Heirs.

‘Wasps’ is immediate and hard hitting, the swirling guitars thrill and enchant while ‘Redesigned A Million Times’ has all the hallmarks to become a future And So I Watch You From Afar anthem. The latter contains some particularly majestic guitar work that is simply superb. ‘People Not Sleeping’ contains a crescendo and crashing climax that would go down as any post-rock band’s finest work.

‘Fucking Lifer’ throbs and thrills before ‘A Beacon, A Compass, An Anchor’ hits another phenomenal high point. Taking a slow and gradual approach, it is reminiscent of the bands earlier work and as such the energy thrills and excites. Each guitar note and pound of the rhythm section is awash in emotion. The guitars explode with a superb riff that defies logic. ‘Animal Ghost’ has the high pitched intricate guitars of Gangs, this time they’re intensified so much that they almost come out as Daft Punk-esque. ‘Tryer, You’ rounds of Heirs in real style creating a landscape of post-rock atmosphere and math-rock intricacies. As the riffs seep in at around 2 minute they channel a real uplifting feeling and you get the sense that you’ve just heard something truly special.

And So I Watch You From Afar have aced it with Heirs. With an already impressive back catalogue behind them they have pulled this straight from the top drawer. It’s a grower, improving with each listen – phenomenal stuff.

AD Rating 9/10

 

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2 Comments on Album Review: Heirs by And So I Watch You From Afar

  1. I knew from their name that they would remind me of Midwest Emo,although they’re not exactly that. The track you posted is great and your descriptions make me think there’s a lot more than just that. It reminded me of The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. Their debut is amazing.

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