[sic] Magazine

Our Ceasing Voice – When The Headline Hit Home

If necessity is the mother of invention, then it also contributed to the gene pool of convention. That is to say, in order for something to become conventional, it’s necessary that it actually works. The problem with this is never that a device actually stops working, but that it can eventually become perfunctory and therefore fail to impress. While art, or rather its audience, certainly demands more of its creators than cursory performance, it has never been necessary to reinvent the wheel in order to put it to very good use; which is exactly what Our Ceasing Voice have done with When The Headline Hit Home .

For sure, OCV tread well-worn territory with their brand of post rock. It’s all here: darkness and light, gentle ambience with temperate builds into emotive, cinematic atmosphere, and sweeping arcs from moody melancholy to searing euphoria. What is missing is the feeling of being emotionally manipulated that sometimes accompanies music which draws heavily on such things. When The Headline Hit Home is quite the antidote for to albums that are invasive, burdening or otherwise a relief when they’re finished – a neat achievement in itself for an album just shy of an hour long.

Predominantly instrumental – where vocals appear they’re often low-key and used to good effect, more like a whispering, gothic lament that occasionally bleeds through the atmosphere rather than a domineering presence – it’s an album fans of I Like Trains ‘ older work will likely find quite comforting.

Its third track, ‘Highway Lights’, has come a long way since its appearance on the EP Steadied Stars In The Morphium Sky . To simply say it is now more dynamic would be an understatement. The lingering, almost to the point of laborious, mid-section of its previous incarnation is nowhere to be heard, the intracacies that were previously lost in a more subdued mix have been highlighted to great effect, with sound almost tangibly rising, falling and swirling in motion. The vocals now have a world-worn and weary edge to them, which is much more complementary to the song this time around.

The following track, ‘The Only Ones Dead (Are Those Who Are Forgotten)’, is a touching instrumental that, as its name might suggest, commemorates more than it mourns – which is a good indication of where the heart lies on this album. The focus here seems to be on the lives left behind, as it were, rather than those lost. As such, while sorrow and dissolution are certainly present, there is more life than grim pre-occupation.

For as much impact as they go for (and often achieve), OCV give the listener enough breathing space to take it all in. The sadness doesn’t wallow too much, the drama isn’t commandeering and there is an equal sense of consolation and inspiration in both the dark and light moments. When The Headline Hit Home has an honesty and openness about it that is pitched at near-perfect distance in terms of how it all relates. As far as the wheel is concerned, this is proof positive that there’s more than enough reward in carefully crafting and polishing something you know just works.

~When The Headline Hit Home is out now, available through the band’s Bandcamp page, at the PostRock Community or from the band themselves. All links can be found at the band’s website below.~