Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Edelweiss sports an impressive sound that melds mystery and precision

November 8, 2011

Bloc Party has always fascinated me with their deft balance of cold precision and intense emotion. Bands that follow in their footsteps often fall on one side of the other the divide, never quite capturing the tension that made the band so magic. Still, failing to appropriate BP’s majesty most often results in excellent work in its own right, and that’s the case with EdelweissPre-Columbians EP.

The band has immediate BP trademarks in the precise guitar tone, cold atmospherics and post-punk rhythms. But the band infuses the five tunes here with a air of mystery, a la Minus the Bear. These tunes aren’t as cut and dried as Kele Okereke and co. make: there’s space for interpretation in these tunes, both in the less didactic vocals and the focus on the whole of the tune instead of on dramatic guitar riffs. That’s not to say there aren’t solid vocal melodies and interesting guitarwork: plenty of both abound in the EP. But the focus is on the song as a whole, not one revelatory guitar line.

This makes tunes like “Witches and Vampires” and “Icarus” incredibly evocative tunes, creating a space for the listener to inhabit. They don’t necessarily fill that space, but they do fashion it. “A Sound From Pennsylvania” goes positively post-rock, applying the techniques from their indie-rock to a subdued, twinkly instrumental. It works impeccably.

Pre-Columbians by Edelweiss shows a band with firm control of its sound. That’s remarkable for a band as young as Edelweiss; hopefully they won’t become trapped in that which they already understand. This EP can be a great launching point for an interesting indie-rock career, or it can be a cruel dictator that keeps them in the same lane for the rest of the band’s life. Here’s to hoping the former comes true, and Edelweiss keeps churning out high-quality music for lovers of this particular style of indie-rock. Keep us guessing, Edelweiss; you’ve done great at that so far.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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