Monday, May 30, 2011

Belong - "Common Era" (2011) [Kranky Records]

It's always a strange when a band changes their style, and, to say the least, Belong's punctuated equilibrium startled quite a few people. For those of you who haven't heard of Belong before this review, their October Language and Colorless Record albums were some of the finest ambiance-centered "post-rock" albums I've ever heard. Naturally, when I first gave their 2011 album Common Era a spin a lengthy 5 years after their last release, I was very surprised to hear they had changed direction in perhaps execution, but, overall, this ambiance that enveloped previous releases is still there.

So, after hearing me babble about the fact that they've changed, I'm sure you, the reader, are wondering, "Well, Jon, how did these people even change? If they're still ambiance obsessed then perhaps you're just being a genre stickler." Well, Mr. or Mrs. Reader, what we have here is a fantastic shoegaze/post-punk album. Everything is dreamy and pensive, reminding me of a lo-fi, slightly warped Disintegration-era The Cure, albeit less bittersweet...and perhaps a bit more danceable. I'm not afraid to admit to tapping my feet and swaying from side to side in my seat while listening to the poppy Perfect Life, which has proven to be one of my favorites off the album.

Am I disappointed that Belong has changed? No, not at all! While changing the way they play, this album is still undeniably a Belong album; it's just more straightforward and accessible. It is absolutely wonderful to see bands bringing back the dreamy, post-punky, "old shoegaze" sound once performed by bands like Black Tambourine or The Chameleons. Oh look at me, I'm sounding like some grizzled old shoegaze fan. Either way, this album was more than just a pleasant surprise and I eagerly await any more material this Louisiana duo has in store.


1 comment:

  1. This, sir, is one of the best releases this year, in my humble opinion... the atmosphere on this record it's just breathtaking and emotional but always covered with a bit of gloom. The only thing i can compare this to is a band called The Soft Moon that blew me away last year with their self titled debut album.. if you are a fan of Belong, please i recommend you to listen to this also. Cheers!


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