It’s been a while since I could just write about some excellent, expressive post-rock. No genre slashes, no wild experimentation, just good old expansive, dream-y, beautiful post-rock. Luckily for me, Heron released You Are Here Now and gave me just such an opportunity. The album is an expressive and evocative take on classic post-rock, hitting the same sorrow tinged pressure points as The Khost or mid-era Explosions in the Sky. It manages to shrug off the aura of mediocrity that too often smothers the genre and soars well beyond its confines. On the way, it gathers influences from a range of rock styles and channels them all through a contemplative lens. Let’s meet after your first taste of it.
“Stillness” is a good choice since it contains most of what I love about this album. The arrangements and structure of the track will be familiar to any fan of this particular style of post-rock. The smooth guitars, the soft drums, the very hints of backing tracks and the electronics at the end. But the tone of the guitars and other instruments are more deeply imbued with a sense of Americana and good old rock n’ roll than is usually found in the genre. On the previous track, “Ender”, those tones are even more dominant, turning the track almost into an Elvis tribute.
The album also does more traditional, post-rock things, including long, long tracks that pay off in mighty crescendos. But through it all, like on the eleven minute long “Drop”, everything is subsumed like the forlorn tones we had already heard on “Stillness”. This gives You Are Here Now it’s only little place in my heart, reserved for the melancholy and gentle hope it gives me. It’s an album that grows on you, nestles within you as you learn to get to know it more and more. And what, if anything, is more classically post-rock than that?