Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

…soihadto…'s instrumental post-rock is heavy on the rock, light on the post

March 16, 2010

I was incredibly confused when I listened to …soIhadto…’s album Adventure Stories (Not Based on Fact?). I was looking forward to a pop punk band: unneccessary punctuation, weird capitalization, questions in the title, the word “adventure,” the whole nine yards. As kitschy as a band name/album name combo can get? Pretty close.

…soIhadto… is actually an instrumental post-rock band, heavy on the rock. Yeah, I know, right? Wouldn’t have guessed that in a million years. I guess that’s why reviewers listen to albums instead of look at them. Who knew?

Having already reviewed an incredibly good post-rock album this year in Post Harbor’s They Can’t Hurt You If You Don’t Believe In Them, my critical ears immediately went into comparison mode. Where Post Harbor’s post-rock was heavy on the post (i.e. mood and melody), …soIhadto…’s is heavy on the rock (i.e. riffs and riffs and riffs). So I pretty much had to shut down the compare-o-meter as soon as I started it up.

As …soIhadto… is big into riffs and guitar heroics, I didn’t connect with their music as thoroughly as I did other bands. It’s not that they neglect mood; “Please Friends Warn Me If They Agree” sets up a very expectant mood for the first forty-five seconds of the songs. It’s that the mood is often a means to an end; in this case, it’s the megariff that hits at forty-six seconds. Is it an awesome riff? Yes. But when the band uses what I consider to be one of the main joys of the genre (extended mood sections) as a means to an end, it’s a bit slighting to me. It feels like …soIhadto… is a rock band that somehow lost its vocalist instead of a true post-rock instrumental band.

Let me reiterate: “Please Friends…” is freakin’ awesome. I wish I had written the riff that they crank out at the end of the song. But it just feels oddly misplaced without vocals. Then again, for those who are upset with post-rock’s inability to stop feeling and just kick out the jams, …soIhadto… might be just the thing. I mean, there’s not too many places you’re going to get the all-out modern rock rush of “The Plumber and the Peacock.”

The songs aren’t all as egregious offenders as “Please Friends…” Tunes like “Come and Get Me in My Sleep” stretch out for eight minutes, and several of them are spent on the type of musical experimentation and wankery that I’ve come to expect from the genre.

Adventure Stories (Not Based on Fact?) is a solid instrumental post-rock release. The members are all talented musicians and their collective vision is fully realized, resulting in some powerful songs and mighty riffs. I just don’t connect with that vision very well.

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Comments: (5)

On March 21, 2010 Johnny L. wrote...

I think the point with soihadto is that they aren't post-rock. they are LIKE post-rock, but while maserati and pelican and explosions are all amazing bands, you have to admit, they are all kind of still playing the same concept. i think it is okay for an instrumental act to load up on riffs, who doesn't like riffs? how many mogwai shows do the kids just stand and stare at the band? i've seen soihadto at house of blues, and they just balls out rock their faces off, and the people who showed up to see clutch were into these guys. clutch is riff-tastic and funky as hell, soihadto is a rock band that plays instrumental music, not a band without a singer. also, if you want to criticize them for not being moody enough, and then in the same breath say that their songs don't build to the correct point that you have been trained to listen for it, you should re-think how you listen to a band. woof woof, pavlovian music critic. i don't have soihadto's album, i'm going off what i saw, so maybe the album comes off a little stunted, i really don't know. but based on their live performance, these guys are no joke. and really, you have to see that your whole synopsis is based on comparisons when maybe we might just have an innovative band here and comparing them to faux-hawk skinny jeans sad snotty art student rock is not only incorrect, but irrelevant. i have never heard anything like them, i don't know how much room there is for too many bands like soihadto, but whenever they are playing the mid-atlantic, i'm going to see them. i wish i could recommend buying the album, but i have not heard it. i can, however, recommend seeing them live. powerful, powerful, stuff. that is a vision i think you can connect with. Johnny L.

On March 28, 2010 Stephen Carradini wrote...

Thank you for your comment! I appreciate the time it took to write that out. If I have a chance to see them live, I hope to take it. I reviewed the CD, and those were my thoughts; I don't have anything else to add to them. Hope you read some other reviews and enjoy them!

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On August 13, 2011 Stephen Carradini wrote...

I run Akismet, which is a nice plug-in for Wordpress.

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