Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Barrow - 2011 Being Without

Band : Barrow
Album : Being Without
Release Year : 2011
Genre : Atmospheric | Screamo | Post-Rock | Experimental
Tracklist :
1) Where I Was
2) Monochromatic
3) Stretching Arms, Shaking Hands
4) In Blight and Boast
5) The Undertow
6) An Absent Crown, My Diadem
7) Sundown
8) Ashen, Pallid

Atmospheric sounds have always been a big part of the better side of post-hardcore. Thrice and Thursday experimented with both quite heavily, and before them bands like Frodus and Fugazi imbued their off-kilter experimentation with a sense of mood and presence that can barely be matched. More recently, this has continued into new realms by the ever-expanding influence of bands like Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai on the current group of upstarts. That's not to say that these kind of sounds and tremolo picked sonic exploration are new to the genre because they have been there for years and years, but now it seems as though not only is it more prevalent but also more deliberate.

Barrow's Being Without is a beautiful listen. Pulling influence from equal parts of the best of the last few years of what post-hardcore has had to offer, Being Without takes the familiar guise of screamed vocals mixed with slightly off key cleans and big melodies and wraps them in the shimmering sheen of the most recent fix of screamo wave bands. At it's best, the resulting sound is a huge wall of post-rock influenced sounds and As Cities Burn-isms that burst and bloom into galloping crescendos. Luckily, Barrow's sound usually comes together quite nicely, and more often than not they reach the same high's that their friends in Iselia did earlier this year with Life From Dead Limbs, especially with their more atmospheric numbers. When they do get a little off, it usually comes from a clashing of sounds between the clean sung vocals and the screams. While the cleans in songs such as “An Absent Crown, My Diadem” are perfectly set with the brooding atmosphere of the track, when transferred over to a track like “In Blight and Boast” the result is not as pleasant as the intended harmony is more of a distraction than anything else. But the few moments that have you thinking, “hey, when did Tell All Your Friends creep into my screamo?!” don't necessarily damper the listening experience because when Barrow are firing on all cylinders the sound is absolutely gorgeous. - Adam Thomas

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