Heavy atmosphere, dash of finesse
German post-rock band Long Distance Calling have returned for a fourth album. They have returned to a purely instrumental approach after deciding to return to their roots and put forth a new release without a vocalist. The sound on Boundless is unique, but in the same respect contains traces of familiarity sprinkled throughout. Though incredibly well rounded with technically robust musicianship, much of the release fails to command the listener’s attention and blends into the background rather easily. Such is the nature of instrumental music, but that fact doesn’t detract from what is ultimately a solid performance with a heavy atmosphere and a dash of finesse.
The album begins with the daunting ballad “Out There,” clocking in at just over nine minutes long. Upon seeing that on the track list, it might discourage a listener from making it all the way through. Those who choose to simply press play, in contrast, are rewarded with a healthy dose of post-rock grooves. It features excellent transitions between muddy guitars over double bass drums, into an amalgamation of different clean tones and intricate bass work (Think Lateralus era Tool). Simply put, it’s easy for a listener to find themselves losing track of the time that has passed due to the fact that they become immersed in the music involuntarily.
Though much of the album is written with an atmospheric/background type of vibe, there are several points where the music comes to the forefront with good old-fashioned headbanging riffs, such as the second track “Ascending” and “Skydivers” at the end. Both feature a much heavier feel than the other six titles, and serve as an excellent change of pace in order to keep the album from seeming stagnant.
In all, Boundless is a great instrumental production but is not limited to that. The album is a great example of what post-rock should feel like. It’s easy to see how a newer listener might lose interest in the material rather quickly, but it is just as apparent to see the merits of listening to the album as a whole and getting lost in the intricacy of the musicianship and environment therewithal.