The Quickening

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It would be unfair to compare Scottish post rock band Remember Rememberto Mogwai. Fortunately, it’s also completely unnecessary. On their sophomore LP, The Quickening, Remember Remember subvert conventional post rock expectations at every turn. Opener “White Castle” manages to manifest its electric groove into sheer prettiness, whereas “Ocean Potion” does almost the exact opposite. Songs tend to overstay their welcome, but the gorgeous string arrangements on “Scottish Widows” manage to make you put that aside. “Hey Zeus” flawlessly fuses rock implications with folk overtones and the formula of beauty contrasted with repetition sees broader variation in “Unclean Powers” as the record transitions to a darker tone. The shortest and title track, “The Quickening”, forgoes the fulsome sound of the earlier songs for a brief, affecting moment of vulnerability before the self-explanatory “One Happier” uses layers of dynamic sound without being overwhelming. Closer “John Candy” returns to the electric elements of “White Castle” to finish off the album. The Quickening shows promise consistently, morphing beauty into rhythm and funk into folk when you least expect it – unfortunately, with a lack of ambiguity, the album lays all of its cards on the table immediately. Sequences repeat with little variation and the formula feels a little stiff in execution by the halfway mark. With dynamic instrumentation being compressed into repetitive beat driven songs, Remember Remember have escaped the post rock trap of aggressive crescendo, but are limited by their own talent; content with having removed the constrains of their genre’s conventional structure, their willingness to stick to their strengths detracts from an otherwise potent album. The Quickening introduces some fascinating, well executed ideas, but refuses to go any further with them.

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