Envy

Recitation

01. Guidance
02. Last Hours of Eternity
03. Rain Clouds Running in a Holy Night
04. Pieces of the Moon I Weaved
05. Light and Solitude
06. Dreams Coming To An End
07. Incomplete
08. Worn Heels and the Hands We Hold
09. A Hint and the Incapacity
10. A Breath Clad in Happiness
11. 0 and 1
12. Your Hand

[Rock Action | 09/22/10]

Despite the vast distances than span their respective homelands, both physically and culturally, there is a strong tie between Japanese screamo afficionados Envy and Scotland’s own instrumental rock emperors Mogwai – and it’s not just the fact that they’re signed to the same label.

Despite their humble beginnings as a fairly straight-up hardcore band – all be it with their atmospheric leanings already formed – Envy have taken their softer side and run with it.

You see, they are no longer really a heavy band. 2006’s Insomniac Doze was a pre-cursor to this transition, I suppose, but I feel that it is never handled better than on this, their latest offering, and the comparisons to Mogwai must surely be in abundance.

Take the first track Guidance for example. It opens with a spanish guitar solo, flowing languidly into an ambient drone and a serene piano section, ending with a soothing, softly spoken female voice. This from the band that brought you A Chain Wandering Deeply and Color of Fetters.

The benchmark of quality that we have come to expect from Envy has definitely carried through. Recitation is lush; its production flawless. The guitar tone is a dream, and for all of its quiet sections, it still sounds grandiose – which is what you need from good post-rock.

Tetsuya Fukugawa’s throaty vocals have lost absolutely none of the punch they had back on Dead Sinking Story – but it’s essentially only these vocals (and Dairoku Seki’s expert drumming) that keep them in the realm of ‘heavy’. I’m okay with this though. It’s hard to talk about them lyrically too, without consulting a lyric book, but with Envy it has never mattered – Fukugawa has always menaged to convey his meaning through more than mere words.

To its slight detriment, I think the album is perhaps over-long. At more than an hour in length you have to have a lot of interesting material to keep the listener’s attention. This is not to say that it isn’t there at all, but for me the album lost focus towards the end and I lost my immersion.

It’s still a cracking album though, and as strong as anything they’ve ever made, which is praise indeed – and if you find yourself reading this review and going “Envy who?”, then get out of my office. Now.

Envy’s Recitation gets

4.5/5

– CG

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