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Album Review: The Endless Shimmering by And So I Watch You From Afar

Belfast quartet And So I Watch You From Afar release their fifth album The Endless Shimmering on 20th October via Sargent House. This is the album ASIWYFA fans have been waiting for, visceral and emotional – urgent and instinctual – there’s a pure ASIWFA sound at the heart of the album that more akin to their self-titled album and Gangs than Heirs and All Hail Bright Futures.

“We laid everything bare and put everything we had into the songs,” bassist Johnathon Adger says. “And we hope people can feel that and use that without us having to be to overt in how we present it. The album was charged with a lot of what we were all going through as individuals, but we wanted to allow it to become people’s soundtrack to whatever they need in their life at this moment.”

Gone are the ensemble vocals that characterised parts of the last two albums, it’s time once again for the music to do the talking and my word it’s glorious. It’s a natural flowing album, due in part to the band not rushing things, “We wrote around 30 tracks before deciding these 9 tracks would make the record,” guitarist Rory Friers explains. “We then spent a long time playing them everyday to allow them to become almost as if we’d already toured them, ingrained in our muscle memory.” The band flew to Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, RI in March 2017, aiming specifically to record live performances of the songs. Just as they arrived, a major snow storm brought the Northeast coast to a standstill. “We tracked, ate, washed and slept at the studio,” Friers says. “And 9 days later we had recorded and mixed the entire album just as the snow began to melt.”

There’s a synergy and relatability to The Endless Shimmering that suckers you in and begs you to listen to the record on repeat. For us at Alt Dialogue there was something truly magically about ASIWYFA’s debut album, the blend of post and math rock was exhilarating but there was something emotional to it too. The intricate guitar parts connected with you and it felt like you were living the album. That feeling is there again with The Endless Shimmering. This time around it’s less raw and primal, it’s every bit as urgent in its ferociousness yet it’s more of a gradual experience. On the first listen you might not get it, stick on your headphones and lose yourself in the driving drumming of Chris Wee and intricate dual guitars of Friers and Niall Kennedy and you’ll be rewarded with a phenomenal album.

The album opens with a brief, hushed guitar murmur as the forceful galloping beat sets course on ‘Three Triangles’ while the guitars seem to slowly awaken with whining notes that slowly build upon one another until it all abruptly halts. The whole band suddenly kicks in with chopping start and stop blasts as the chirping lead melody leads the proceedings toward a swirling apex. From there on it’s an album that will excite and thrill with every listen. Different nuances come out with each listen, whether it be the bobbing guitars of ‘Terrors of Pleasure’ or the jagged rhythms of the epic ‘I’ll Share My Life’ you’ll find something new to love in each listen.

As a whole it’s a really strong album, perhaps working best when listen to in its entirety from start to end. Yet, special praise has to be reserved for the humungous sprawling beast that is ‘Dying Giants’ which contains some of the bands most forthright and exhilarating riffs to date. The gentle guitar work and strings at the end are the perfect antithesis to the bluster of the rest of the track and end a rollercoaster of a listen. Album closer ‘Chrysalism’ is a live anthem in waiting, but it’s ‘Mullally’ that you get the feeling of something truly special. The guitar work defies comprehension at times it’s that complex and sprawling yet it connects with you and you can’t help but fall in love. This is ASIWYFA at their very best.

AD Rating 9.75/10

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2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Alt Dialogue’s Top 100 Albums of 2017 Part 2: 50 – 1 – Alt Dialogue
  2. Playlist: And So I Watch You From Afar – tour listening – Alt Dialogue

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