When Texas trio This Will Destroy You came on the scene in 2005, their take on the ethereal drone and slow climb of post-rock wasn’t the freshest sound on the block, but they were decent at it. Their debut EP Young Mountain had plenty of ethereal guitars and powerful bursts of aggression to stack up against all of your Explosions in the Skies and Mogwais, and they kept it up with a new chapter in the story every two years or so. This isn’t to say that the band’s output is indistinguishable, but their work feels more the part of a slowly unwinding musical story rather than a collection of distinct documents.
While the progression of that story is at a snail’s pace, a trace can be found in where its going. Their latest album, Another Language, is the group’s most organic outing yet. The bits of electronics that cropped up on Young Mountain and This Will Destroy You are mostly gone. Truncated too is the long periods of drone that filled out a good portion of 2011’s Tunnel Blanket. At 47 minutes, Another Language is their shortest and earthiest album to date and is in turn their most digestible.
Opener “New Topia” spends a few minutes exploring its surroundings before crashes of heavy guitars and drums come raining down – far sooner here than what we’re used to coming from them. While the use of the quiet to loud dynamics works well at first, like on the inspiring and surprisingly uptempo “Dutism,” the pattern becomes quickly noticeable as tracks like “Serpent Mound,” “Invitation,” and “Memory Loss” all follow the story line of wandering guitars leading to destructive distortion. “Invitation” however does offer some deviation with Alex Bhore’s drumwork, as he paints the song with marching snares that whip things into a midtempo groove before the world-smashing guitars take over. Of all the album’s slow-rising tracks, this one is the best.
But with all due respect to Bhore’s drumming, the record’s best moments are when the group keeps it in the ambient world. Both “The Puritan” and “Mother Opiate” are beautifully warped sprawls, and “God’s Teeth” is a gorgeously smoky and hopeful exit, especially after the charred wreckage that ends the penultimate “Memory Loss.” TMDY have a knack for sound and on Another Language, they prove it on the less typical tracks. Often this record falls into the trappings of the post-rock clichés that can be heard now in every indie science fiction trailer, but it does have is moments to prove that TMDY are worthy or carrying on the post-rock legacy, as saturated as the sound may be.