Music is a funny thing sometimes. There are albums where the songs work better as one giant piece rather than individual track. There are also albums where the opposite is true, and each individual track is greater than their sum. This is most prevalent in the world of post-rock and ambient music, where we often see albums that can come together into one grand design or can work separately as individual portraits of that particular moment. When discussing Montreal band C H R I S T, we come to an impasse, and the reason is not so black and white.
This quartet hails from a city where one of the most legendary bands began and continues to make music (Godspeed You! Black Emperor). The band clearly has post-rock in their roots, but when listening with a closer ear, there are tinges of doom and drone music all over the place. The album starts very slow, and is very reminiscent of Earth at certain points throughout the record. There’s also a good amount of ambient noise in each song as well, and considering the average song length is roughly 10 minutes, it’s safe to say that each song has some unique aspect to it.
This is where things begin to get tricky, however. As discussed earlier, there comes a point where every record should climax, whether it occur in the middle or at the very end. However, the latter carries a burden with it that the former doesn’t in the way that you will always just be waiting and anticipating for a long time before anything really significant happens. In this record’s case, the album really doesn’t pick up until the final song, which makes listening to the first three an exhausting task. It’s not to say that the songs are bad by any means, however. They just don’t go anywhere. It’s a common pitfall of post-rock and it’s an understandable yet simple mistake that new bands will inevitably make.
The album shuffles past the first three songs and climaxes at the end, and it is a solid closer. The final track is definitely the best on the album by a long shot, and it’s a good thing that the band put it last, because anywhere else on this record and it would have been incredibly stale. The band seem to finally hit their stride in the final 12 minutes of the record with the ending track, but it is a bittersweet feeling. The band can obviously make really great music, but it’s evident that the band still needs to find their voice, because the last song is far better than the first three, and it’s a scary contrast.
A young band is allowed to make mistakes. It happens. Bands grow, evolve, and change to eventually find their niche and stick with it for a while. There are very few bands who had strong debuts and really resonated with their fans, and unfortunately, this is not one of them. The band has time to grow and expand their sound to find something that will make their music that much better, but for now, we’re left at a standstill, wondering if the band can see their potential.
C H R I S T- T O W E R gets…