File Under: Mellow Art Rock
RIYL: Mellow music, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sigur Ros, Radiohead
Summary: Hypnotic art-rock that lulls you into a blissful stupor.
Sometimes I wish that I could write one-word reviews. As rare as it may be, some bands are so much easier explained by one word than by hundreds. Ember Days is one of those bands- their sound is so unique that the greatest diatribe would be spent explaining why Ember Days is so amazingly hypnotic.
Yes, hypnotic. The sparse, haunting music that this quartet churns out is simply trance-inducing.
Ember Days is made up of a vocalist, a guitarist, a drummer, and a combination bassist/synth-master/pianist. Each part of this band is unique: The vocalist wails in a high, trembling voice that reverberates in your head long after the songs end; the guitarist hardly ever plays a chord, preferring atmospheric sounds and single note melodies; the bassist/keys player drives these compositions with a humble yet strong melodic backdrop; the drummer controls the level of intensity these songs reach.
The best song here is the flowing “To Say Goodbye”. It starts out with a gently pulsing synth line and a delicate piano line, then expands to involve drums, then vocals. The vocals in this particular song are distorted, so they all sound like whispers against the subtle beauty of the track. The song crescendos and decrescendos many times, as the intensity is built up with the increasing of the vocal volume. Nothing is overt in this band- everything grows and falls slowly. The five and a half minutes of this song are pure bliss- soft, melodic, unpretentious music that will put you to sleep. This is a brilliant song, and this is a brilliant album.
Even though these four songs make up 21 minutes of music, it’s unfortunate that there are only four songs here. I could listen to this band a lot longer than twenty-one minutes, and once you hear them, you’ll want to hear more as well.