Bass is an often overlooked instrument in post rock. Often, the fault lies with the band as the bass as regulated to a very minuscule or standard role. However, the fans aren’t faultless either, often preferring to shine a light on the more prominent guitars. This can create a feedback loop, with bands looking to tap into what they perceive as the sound most important and impressive to their fans. Mindsedge make the sort of post rock that puts such loops to shame, showcasing what happens when the bass guitar is utilized properly within the realms of post rock. Their album Shades owes much of its power and grandeur to the bass guitar rather than to delay infused crescendos and somber leads which grate against the heart.
Right from the get go, with the dual opening tracks “Tesla” and “Unmeisen” you can hear how this role works. On “Tesla” especially, the bass provides the bedrock on which the entire track’s flow rests. It is both prominent and expertly subtle, preferring to prop up where it can instead of taking charge of the sound. This is what it does more on “Unmesin”, where it plays the main lead throughout the track. You can hear this more central role further on in the album, like on slow-burner “Sunrise” for example. This is all not to say that the rest of the instruments are lacking; rather, Shades enjoys truly powerful and original compositions because it rests on such a well-conceived and executed bass guitar.
All of these elements come together and are showcased on “Pathways”, the longest and most accomplished track on the album. First, it is embellished with fantastic guest vocals, lending another ephemeral layer to the already spaced out timbre. Secondly, the interaction between the instruments is most power on this track, as its length gives them time to grow and work together over a grander backdrop. Thus, lines and relationships are reiterated upon, slowly building up the ratios between them until the track becomes a cohesive, monumental whole. Situated near the end of the album, it also gives Shades the necessary power to end on a high note, completing its status as a well composed and recorded post rock album, hinging on a strong groove section for its delivery rather than a more dreamy and insubstantial reliance “just” on stock, post rock guitars.