Everyone knows by now, I hope, that I love music. But there’s music, which makes me happy or sad or is just plain fun, and then there’s music, which sets my heart to bursting and makes the world light up in the multiplicity of colors that only a dopamine rush can manifest. Outrun the Sunlight have been experts at hitting that sweet spot for me for years now; Terrapin, released at the end of my first year with the blog, 2014, was one of my greatest loves of that time period. Ever since then, the band’s unique blend of post-rock, post-metal, and progressive metal has been something I’ve been eagerly consuming whenever they released new music. And that wasn’t that often: their last album, the magnificent and brooding Red Bird, was released in 2017.
But lo! A light breaks over yonder mountains and we can once again bathe in the resonances of an Outrun the Sunlight release! A Vast Field of Silence was recently announced by the band with a release date set for the 12th of November. Happy enough news, right? It was for me. But then, oh dear reader then! Then I listened to the album and I instantly, immediately, deeply fell in love. I now (after listening to it for about a dozen times over the last week) feel confident enough to say that A Vast Field of Silence is Outrun the Sunlight’s best album yet. It is as expansive as previous releases but feels more restrained, more patient and economic with its gestures and their size.
This enables it to hit the same emotional spots their albums always have: melancholy, wander, nostalgia, being home, love, sadness, all of those powerful colors that post-rock evokes so well are present here. But everything hits deeper, more powerful for being more streamlined. Everything feels better welded together, abandoning a state as this or that line or idea and coalescing effortlessly into one grand whole.
Don’t believe me? Why wouldn’t you, at this point? But hey, if you don’t, you can scroll on down below and check out my favorite track from the album, “Emerald Joy”, and see the band rip through it in a playthrough. Listen to those deep, redolent, unique synths (we’ll talk more about their tones in the future). Let the intro envelop you in its morose expansiveness, excellently agile bass lines queueing it up with the synths to create its smooth soundscape. Hear the track finally collapse on an absolutely beautiful riff at one fifty and then ride out the rest of the track as the band iterate on it time and time again, playing around with its heaviness and its wistfulness. That riff transforms into solos, into ambient passages which revisit the track’s intro, and into even heavier and groovier passages, all there for you to explore.
In short, dive into “Emerald Joy” and all the complexity and beauty it has to offer and then head on over to the band’s Bandcamp to pre-order this amazing album. You won’t regret doing it. God, I love music!