Souvaris - A Hat
Im rounding the third time Ive found myself obsessed with this album, and its about time I share it with those who may not have heard it yet. I picked it up due to a review describing it as "Slinty" (one of my favorite terms) and when I gave it a spin, at first I was let down. Slint it was not. But somehow, something drew me in. They definitely pull of quite a mathy approach to a style of music that has been almost exhausted by Explosions in the Sky and the likes. This, in and of itself, is mostly what piqued my interest. Complex drumming and polyrythmic guitar signatures have always had a warm place in my heart. Souvaris has pulled off so much more here though..
And coming around to my my first bout of obsession, I relaized that this is indeed a very Slinty piece of work. It is not immediately accessible in that realm, at first, but this band knows how to ratchet up the tension and even give a few bitch slaps for good measure. Hand or Finger is a perfect example of the Slinty punch these guys are capable of. The sound is far more fleshed out with elements of prog and ambient and of course the obvious post-rock touchstones. Souvaris comes across as hybrid of Slint, Explosions in the Sky, Tortise and From Monument to Masses. Knowing when to stretch things out across the sonic canvass and when to reign things in is a big part of the delicacy of this album. And considering I mentioned Prog as an example of their sound, it is with deft hands that they know when to ride the sharp edge of playing really technical and keeping it from becoming a wank fest of self gratifying guitar and drum work.
My two favorite songs on this album are easily Quit Touching my Ass, the albums statement of intent, and the opus of the album, Nobody is Fine and Everybody Needs a Drink. Quit Touching My Ass starts off with the perfect amount of ambience and drops right into the off kilter drumming that is present throughout the album. The song winds and dances for 13+ minutes, like snow devils, occasionally compacting on themselves to form a compact snow drift of dense ringing guitars and chopping bass and drum work.
Nobody is Fine reaches the 14 minute mark and has a number of distinct sections. Beginning with a simple marching drum style and adding a somber piano, the first section gives Mogwai a run for its money, reaching high and wide eventually reaching a head with a drop off right after. The second section stretches out a bit more with a heavy piano lead once again, but theres something heavy, not in a metallic way, but emotively. This sections an amazing ride with the drums marching into a trot and the guitars pulling off some nice polyrythms while another guitar soars in the background. Another sharp drop brings on more piano that Rachel Grimes would be proud of (Rachel Grimes from the Rachels, of course). Once again building with a strong weaving guitar lead and some nice mathy drumming, only to drop off all instruments but the drum and the bass, zinging with a hopeful airy feel. Handclaps accompany the rest of the section while guitars enter again to dance and waltz around the rhythm section, eventually ebbing to an washed out ambient droning section, still with drums and piano though. Ringing into the next section, the guitars lightly push for the stratosphere, with an insistent bass bringing in some tension, all working towards a very Tarentel-ish space rock feel that builds with some nice martial drumming and ever so gently pushes you off to space. At the end, left floating, the piano comes back to reintroduce the beginning of the song. It is a very complex and emotional pieces and has so many twists and turns, it has been a highlight now for quite sometime.
I strongly suggest checking this out if you are into any of the aformentioned bands. Souvaris are from Nottingham, UK and have something really special going on right now. The rest of their songs are all impressive and, of course, they have a myspace page, which all of you skeptics should check out.