Last month we told you about Post-engineering‘s incredible 4-hour compilation of great post-rock from all over the world, and at the time I made a promise that I would dig through all of the bands featured, and we would feature all of the ones that really stood out. Well, here I am starting to make good on that promise. There are a lot of bands whose catalogs I’ve listened through the past few weeks, and this was the first one that really caught my ear. Afformance, like the people who run Post-engineering, are based out of Greece. They’ve got 2 LPs and an EP under their belt, and though their debut LP and the EP are worth listening to, I’m going to focus on their new full-length Through Walls because it’s quickly risen to the top tier of instrumental and post-rock releases for me this year.
Through Walls is a tour de force of styles and moods, starting with the long-form and gracefully gliding suite that forms the first track “Ceasing Infinity.” Matching the energy of Heavy Blog favorites like sleepmakeswaves (as well as heavy hints of vintage Explosions in the Sky), there is an undertone to the music here that is both adventurous and emotional, luring you in and enveloping you with warmth. Second track “Dancing Lessons for the Advanced Age” is a noodly banger that starts out evoking the energy of an Arms of Tripoli track and diverges into Rumour Cubes territory with its well-executed inclusion of strings. For me though it’s really the combination of the third and fourth tracks, “Cordyceps” and “Savants” that elevates the album into potential end-of-the-year-list territory. The dark pulsating energy coursing through “Cordyceps” is certainly reminiscent of what sleepmakeswaves accomplished in their excellent Love of Cartography track “Emergent,” but the groove and build-up throughout are impressive enough to make the track easily stand out on its own. “Savants,” meanwhile, takes another left turn into sweat-inducing math-dance territory akin to Battles and some of the more recent work of Maserati with its playfully-jagged groove, machine-like drumwork, and spacey production.
The remaining two tracks, “Christmas Truce” and “Mr. Bonnet, I Think I’m Dead,” also form a terrific couplet closing out the album, the former taking a brighter, more melodic approach that would fit right at home in The Samuel Jackson Five canon, and the latter a more somber approach that reminds me a lot of an old Do Make Say Think track, “The Apartment Song.” Normally I would find all of these reminders of other bands’ work a bit of a red flag, but Afformance handles each stylistic touchstone with great aplomb without ever feeling too derivative or played out. The entire album manages to sound fresh and teeming with energy and momentum, and it easily earns repeated listens. If you’re a post-rock fan looking for a healthy sampling of sounds representative of the best that the genre has to offer, you really can’t go wrong with Through Walls.
Go ahead and purchase the album at their Bandcamp page, and come back soon for another post-engineered installment of this column!