[sic] Magazine

cecilia::eyes – Disappearance

Take some compositional guitar music add drums and, I think, samples and, yes folks, we have ourselves a post-rock band. cecilia::eyes hail from my adopted homeland, Belgium. They’ve been kicking around for the best part of a decade and played with some really top artists. Influences are worn proudly on their sleeves, the bandmembers unashamed to admit their love for keystone shoegaze and post-rock acts. It’s manifest too across their press release and bio. It’s also very apparent in the music.

So far so good.

For a short moment album opener ‘Bellflowers’ situates the group on the late 1990’s WARP label. A pinging refrain is set against swirling ambience and Vangelis–like grandeur. It’s a classy start, but it needed to be shorter. Half of its 8 minutes would have sufficed, ideally hurling us unexpectedly into the next track. cecilia::eyes prefer to ratchet up the climactic element of ‘Bellflowers’. Too many ‘ta da’s make the final four minutes a kind of musical waiting room that you just want over and done with, even if the next room is the dentist. Happily, next track ‘Lord Howe Rise’ is the real deal, all early Slowdive in feel and mood. This one truly hits the spot. What we have here is a Russian Doll of all the best influences. Essentially ‘Lord Howe Rise’ is post-rock, looking back to shoegaze, looking back to post-punk. Think, ‘Fear Satan’ era Mogwai inspired by ‘Avalyn’ era Slowdive, inspired by Cure/Cocteaus.’ Lord Howe Rise’ is a beast.

Next effort ‘Loreta’ is doing the Sigur Rós, anti-aircraft missile guitars thing. Actually it’s a little too close to the Icelandic giants for my complete comfort. But as an opening salvo, this trio works. One could easily imagine a stunning album if this kind of quality could be maintained.

However Disappearance(s) can be deceptive. What actually follows is a slow decent into psyche and dronescape. I suspect the band were going for that ‘tired and melancholic’ vibe. What they achieved is not in any way poor, just laboured. The listener is left exhausted, patience well and truly tested. Again the pieces are too long. What works for the likes of Mogwai and Sigur Ros often struggles in other hands. Those bands were innovative forerunners, giants of the genre. Plus, they employ vocals. Even the slurred ramblings of Aidan Moffat added some much needed personality to Mogwai’s effervescent early work. Post-rock, stretched across a whole album, is a tough trick to pull off. I often feel that the genre works better across shorter formats such as EPs and singles. Variety is that much more difficult without a singer. And Disappearance is of course wordless.

In summary, what we have here is a perfectly serviceable, competent record which just needed that something extra special to elevate it above the crowd.

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