Friday, February 25, 2011

Long Distance Calling - Long Distance Calling

Long Distance Calling
Long Distance Calling
Superball Music/Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia

The post-rock scene has well and truly exploded over the last decade, with the scene literally flooded with a host of acts trying to capture a piece of the market. So it really doesn’t comes as any surprise to find that despite having already released a couple of E.P.’s (2006’s ‘DMNSTRTN’ and 2008’s ‘090208’ split with Leech) and two full-length albums (2007’s ‘Satellite Bay’ and 2009’s ‘Avoid The Light’), German (M√ľnster based) outfit Long Distance Calling haven’t yet become a major success. But that’s not through a lack of song writing skill or musical ability, as almost all of their releases have garnished their fair share of critical acclaim. Instead, a lot of the band’s lack of exposure can simply be pinpointed down to the number of acts within the post-rock scene.
Undeterred, the five piece act (Comprising of guitarists David Jordan and Florian F√ľntmann, bassist Jan Hoffmann, Reimut Van Bonn on electronics and drummer Janosch Rathmer) has returned with their third full-length effort ‘Long Distance Calling’.
Sticking to what they do best, ‘Long Distance Calling’ is once again an album of long instrumental tracks for the most part, with the album’s opener ‘Into The Black Wide Open’ providing an idea of the way in which the band approach their music. Unlike many other post-rock acts, Long Distance Calling writes songs that can actually rely solely on their instrumental framework. The heavy groove that the band locks into provides the backbone of the song, but still manages to allow enough space to go off in tangents, all the while evoking a vast and dark atmosphere that’s altogether calming as it is dark sounding.
The follow up track ‘The Figrin D’an Boogie’ is quite a departure from the opening track with its up-tempo classic rock sound, which certainly makes the song stand out in a major way, while the cascade of thick guitar tones in the heavy ‘Invisible Giants’, the riff driven metallic juggernaut that is ‘Arecibo (Long Distance Calling)’ and the subdued and mellow vibe of ‘Timebends’ only show just how effective the band is at diversifying their sounds from one track to the next.
Of course, not everything the band has committed to tape has been purely instrumental, with past efforts including guest vocalists such as The Haunted’s Peter Dolving and Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse. This time around, the band has managed to rope in Armored Saint/ex-Anthrax vocalist John Bush, who provides the vocals on ‘Middleville’. While the inclusion of vocals does disrupt the flow of the album a little, it has to be said that ‘Middleville’ is a great song, both from Bush’s own performance and on a compositional level from the band. It’s an odd detour to say the least, but a worthy inclusion nonetheless.
Finishing up the album is the epic ‘Beyond The Void’, which is by far the most progressive song on the album, and one that is in some ways an extension of the opener in terms of its slower pace and reliance on minimal ideas.
In some ways, Long Distance Calling reminds me a lot of Karma To Burn. Not so much musically, but more in the way both acts can create songs on an instrumental level, without the aid of vocals. If you can image how that sounds, and place the band somewhere on the same musical landscape as Porcupine Tree, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai (But without sounding like any one of these bands entirely), then you’ll have half an idea of just how much Long Distance Calling stand out from the masses.

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© Justin Donnelly