In a Philadelphia church basement, fluorescent lights flicker above a stage where speaking in tongues may have occurred and/or Bingo balls may have been dropped into place. Tonight the letters are called out as dark, Dickie-clad patrons huddle and wait in front: “P-E-L-I-C-A-N!” The crowd grumbles as the Chicago foursome arrive from stage left with their latest batch of music from their latest album What We All Come to Need in tow. The sinewy instrumentalists plug in, gaze out at the short sea of black hoods, and break through with a droning rush of riffs, collectively becoming elastic and comfortable in post metal spasms.
The crowd rides a wave of new songs like “Glimmer” and “Ephemeral” in drone-free amazement. There is a pleasing thud and crush accompanying the pieces that could bring still magma to gurgle, yet the sound is hard to classify. There are no vocals, so these soundscapes, loud enough to knock whales over at fifty fathoms, leave the audience to match up their mind’s own story to the ebb and flow of the tunes.
Pelican defy description, yet the songs assail the sensory nerves with a fervor. The music floats and then burrows deep with a hypnotic call and response. If the tithing basket had been passed around the church basement on this evening, the Gods would have been pleased with the collection.