Del Rey: Immemorial

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Del Rey: Immemorial
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Del Rey: Immemorial
Post-Rock, Progressive Rock
At a Loss Recordings
September 28th, 2010
Release length: 45:26
Myspace
Del Rey is a Post-Rock act from Chicago that came to light back in 1997. Since then, the group has issued an EP, as well as three full-length efforts. Immemorial marks the band’s fourth full-length release, and continues the band’s Post-Rock sound, while furthering their more Progressive sound then on previous albums, creating a release that is more an album that focuses on atmosphere then anything else. This winds up being the biggest downfall for the release, as sometimes the music feels lacking through the album, though these instrumentals do have enough of an ambient tone to them that the listener can just lay back and be lifted away.

Musically, Immemorial could be a much stronger release. It seems that the band has focused more on creating an atmosphere to the music that is laid back and reminiscent of “space rock” releases in the past that present a more Progressive sound to the mix, able to take the listener on a journey as they go through the release. While this is typically a widely accepted musical practice nowadays, it’s hard to find a band that can pull it off with such ease and still create an album that is more then just the feeling of a copied relaxation tape you got from a friend. Unfortunately, this time around, Del Rey falls into that category, though the more space rock feel material does it’s job at creating an atmosphere that can just take the listener away. One of the biggest issues with Immemorial, to that effect, comes on the starting track “Return of the Son of Fog Rider”. While some of the song is not bad and ultimately picks up for small portions, leaving it to feel whole, the song often winds up feeling like it’s just not going anywhere and empty outside of having a good amount of soft, slower paced Rock being used to create a nice atmosphere for the track. It’s unfortunate, as it takes up such a long amount of time, and other tracks on here actually do wind up leading somewhere.

Due to the lengths of the tracks on this release, as well as the fact that many of the songs carry the same general atmosphere to them and typically bleed into the next one, it’s easy to look at this effort as more of a conceptual piece that flows from one song right into the other, acting as if the song didn’t actually end even though you distinctly heard the track fade out and another one fade in. This may not set it right at the start of the album, but it quickly sinks in at the end of “E Pluribus Unicorn”, which is actually just a heavier, more powerful version of “Return of the Son of Fog Rider”, but not as if it were just the same song recorded twice. Instead, it seems like a more powerful follow-up chapter of that song, as if “Return of the Son of Fog Rider” had been an overextended introduction that bled into “E Pluribus Unicorn”, which is where the song actually does wind up picking up and actually having some more consistency outside of atmosphere filled simple and repetitive music. Of course, this song bleeds into the soft and slow “Innumeracy”, which acts as the perfect transition to “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars”, another space rock-like track that seems focused more on atmosphere, using some simple guitars that slowly build for a few minutes before the song actually kicks in.

So, due to the structure of the album, Immemorial winds up being an album you simply cannot sit down with and just expect to listen to one or two songs and feel good. The only way to truly enjoy this release would be to sit down and hear it from start to finish. The first time through may be a little rough, especially if you don’t know that little bit of information, but when you do, future spins of the album become much more enjoyable. The longer tracks on here, except for “Return of the Son of Frog Rider”, which, even after that initial run through the album, still just feels unfinished and as if it is simply going nowhere, are more important to the album then anything, but typically boast lame transitions between songs unless a short one fills the gap. The transition between “Return of the Son of Fog Rider” and “E Pluribus Unicorn”, for example, is a simple fade out/fade in on the tracks so that they sound as if they are still the same song. However, the problem with shorter tracks on here acting as bridges between the longer songs leads to it beind harder to sit down and even attempt to listen to a random song or two, or even put a song into a playlist and hit random, as the song will always sound cut off. Of course, the latter isn’t necessarily a gripe to the album, as these transitions end up being on of Immemorial‘s little charms and keep the flow of the record alive.

Either way, after a very rocky start, Immemorial winds up being a rather good album. Where Imemorial has faults, the band has a positive aspect that kind of makes up for that little negative spat in the music, and the conceptual building around similar atmospheres leads to the music having enough originality between tracks that they don’t get repetitive or redundant. The only thing listeners could want more of on here would be the actual music. Much of the album just seems to chug along at a rather slow pace, barely ever really picking up in speed or power outside of a few key moments during a song, but even then it doesn’t hit all the songs, such as with “Ancestral”, but this acoustic piece winds up closing the album off nicely with a slightly haunting sound through the guitars. Fans of Post-Rock will find plenty to be happy about with this effort, and even those who aren’t too into this style can certainly throw this disc in and appreciate what effort is being put forth, but there’s no denying that sometimes you’re left with nothing but an empty feeling in your heart for a lack of strong music to back up that atmospheric feeling the album gives off.

01. Return of the Son of Fog Rider – 11`:15
02. E Pluribus Unicorn – 7:49
03. Innumeracy – 2:31
04. Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars – 10:35
05. Ouisch – 1:13
06. These Children That Come at You With Knives – 9:39
07. Ancestral – 2:25
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Del Rey (band)
Digital review copy of this release provided by At a Loss Recordings via Earplit PR.