Context: lunch-time ambiance
This is a far cry from yesterday’s metal-core sea of brutality (although it does venture into flavors of metal from time to time). Apparently this is what “post-rock” sounds like. I dig it well enough, makes for real good office background music. It’s like Explosions in the Sky if they knew how to write a heavy riff occasionally.
This album is largely instrumental, although words do happen from time to time. It seems like they don’t have a method to their madness, but rather if a song “feels” like it “needs” some lyrics, GIAA finds a way to deliver their lyrics. I find this off-putting (maybe I’m supposed to?), as their seemingly random interjections of words serves mostly just to frustrate my expectations (to dust off my grad school know-how, see Suzanne Langer’s Philosohpy in a New Key). If that isn’t the desired effect, way to fuck up on those tracks, GIAA.
GIAA’s blend of sonic atmosphere with more traditional metal riffs carves out a seemingly unique space in music for themselves. Whereas instrumental prog-metal type bands like Polyphia, Intervals, and Chon can wash themselves out by failing to distinguish themselves against their compadres, GIAA seems to sit between these proggy bands and more traditionally “soft” post-rock like the aforementioned Explosions in the Sky. These departures from the norm of their genre serve as a marker that is usually put in place by the singer, aka it’s what lets us know we’re not listening to some other band.
It’s a shame that most music gets washed out within its genre, especially when there isn’t something as immediately identifiable like a voice to distinguish yourselves, but this may be my limitation as a listener. I understand in the abstract that every musician is different and every artist has a unique perspective, but without fully diving into the genre it’s hard to always pick a band out from the sea of sameness that can make a genre feel stale and relatively shallow.
To me, at least.