I remember the moment I first laid my eyes on the upcoming Driving Slow Motion album. Billed as cinematic and emotional post-rock, my attention was immediately drawn to it, upon which I saw that it was titled Arda and had songs on it with names like “The Way the World Was” and “Shadow & Flame”. As anyone who has followed this blog for even a short time would probably know, I’m a huge Tolkien fan. In fact, my bad currently contains a copy of his “The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun”, one of his poems in the Old English style. Naturally, I immediately gravitated even deeper to this album, excited to explore its layers of meaning and reference.
And boy, was I pleased with what I found. Arda is one of those albums that manages to take a genre known for its somewhat cookie-cutter tendencies and inject it with so much passion, depth of expression, and style that it scintillates into the night. It’s also possessing of the exact type of wanderlust which is replete in Tolkien’s works, making that nominal connection much deeper and present in the music itself. It creates that wanderlust by preferring deep, echoing tones and sparse composition, setting the backdrop of its ambience alight with post-rock sensibilities. Just check out the opening track, “Far From Home”. The energy is not just in the build up but in every single note by itself, haunted as they are with ethereal effects, multiple guitar tracks, and clever drum touches.
The entire album draws on the same kind of ideas. While heavier moments certainly exist, like on the end of the aforementioned opening track, where everything runs into one and the silence flips into noise, the beauty of the album is hidden in its subtle forms of expression. It envelops you and translates you into a world entirely of the band’s making, with perhaps a dash of those Tolkien imaginations shining through. The end result is a moving, emotional, and effective album which I’m more than proud to premiere today in full. It releases on June 7th and you should absolutely support this independent band by pre-ordering it via the Bandcamp stream below.