We’ve mentioned Danish instrumental trio Town Portal once here before leading up to the release of their sophomore album The Occident, but then they managed to fall back off our radar. You know how it goes with these things. There’s only just so many bands one can actively keep track of at once. For some reason though I was reminded of them this week and actually checked out the album. Allow me to offer this piece of advice – do not sleep on this band. The Occident is a masterful journey through dense and mathy instrumental rock that will keep you on your toes with its eclectic mixture of moods and influences and keep you coming back for more.
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The Occident sits at just a smidge over a half hour, but the 8 tracks present here cover an astonishing amount of musical territory. There’s certainly the gritty technicality of classic math rock acts like Don Caballero present (as opener “Bonus Trigger” attests to), but there’s also a surprising amount of progressive flair throughout. “Eschaton”‘s use of bright xylophones and melodic lines is hugely compelling and calls to mind the bubbly proficiency of Arms of Tripoli, Monobody, and particularly The Samuel Jackson Five. There’s certainly plenty of heavier post-rock/metal in the mix, particularly in the Pelican-esque melodic basslines. Oddly enough, the winding guitar lines on the chunky “Yes Golem” and lighter “Dream Bureau” remind me strongly of the more noodling instrumental passages of Crack the Skye-era (or even “Hearts Alive” off of Leviathan) Mastodon.
If that grouping of bands sounds like an odd fit, then that’s likely intentional. Town Portal appear to be utterly unconcerned with any of the pinnings of genre, so much so that it’s possibly unfair to be mentioning them under the guise of the “Post Rock Post” column. But while the band might object to any such labeling, this is exactly the kind of invigorating work that is necessary to keep the world of instrumental music and post-rock fresh. Much like what we saw in our post last week about In Each Hand A Cutlass, it’s these bands that are fearlessly blending multitudes of sounds and influences that are going to continue to propel this kind of music forward.
The Occident is out now and as of this past week is available on Spotify and other streaming services.