Pictures of Wild Life’s existence to this point has mostly consisted of a slow drip of singles. The first of these was the driving and propulsive “Coastal Flora,” which provides some insight into the LA-based post-rock act’s ethos. Where many post-rock bands take after Explosions in the Sky, letting their arpeggiated chords linger forever before blossoming into sprawling cathartic ten-plus-minute epics, Pictures of Wild Life is a bit more immediate. “Coastal Flora” doesn’t even hit four full minutes, and it wastes no time in achieving that cathartic release, but it retains the intricacy and dynamic range the genre is known for.
All four of Pictures of Wild Life’s singles are compiled on Terrene, along with an unreleased song. “Coastal Flora” is a good example of what to expect from the EP –– “Twin Pines” follows in the same mold, reaching even greater heights. The upbeat “Seabright” captures a similar feeling, sounding like Waking Season era Caspian’s take on a pop song, winding one riff until it snaps into a gorgeous tremolo picked finale.
Pictures of Wild Life explores slightly darker territory on the aptly named closer “Gloom,” which climbs from a taut, twinkly riff into a fuzzy stratospheric conclusion. That song and the opener, “Caldera,” find the project in their most classic post-rock moments. “Caldera” in particular, the only song on Terrene not to have gotten released beforehand, feels like Pictures of Wild Life’s evidence that they can play more conventional, languid post-rock as well as anyone else; it is a classic sweeping, building epic that manages to keep a sense of personality that all too often bands in this style can lack. Still, though, Terrene’s best moments are when Pictures of Wild Life is cutting loose, writing the sorts of songs only Pictures of Wild Life would.
Terrene is out now and available as a name your price download on Bandcamp.