Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Actually Like: Venice Is Sinking

On Thursday, I got an email from the Athens, GA band Venice Is Sinking, informing me of the release of their new album AZAR. Since it was the first email I've ever gotten from a band wanting me to write about them, I felt flattered enough to listen to the album and, lo and behold, I actually liked it.

Venice Is Sinking play the sort of orchestral indie rock often termed "slowcore," and true to form, the tempos on AZAR don't often rise above a sitting person's heartbeat. But it's the band's stately pace that allows their richly textured arrangements to be fully appreciated. Utilizing trumpets, viola, steel drums, and the shimmer of sounds played in reverse, Venice Is Sinking remind of everything I loved about the rich and cinematic arrangements of bands like Rachel's and Low.

The two songs I'm posting for download, "Wetlands Dancehall" and "Iron Range" are my favorites on the album. "Wetlands Dancehall" begins with a shuffling, shaker-driven beat and singer Karolyn Troupe's almost operatic vocals, gradually turning into a glittering waltz. On their iLike page, the band mention they recorded Javanese seed pods for the album and I think I hear the sound of the pods flit in and out of the song's choruses.

"Iron Range" starts out sounding like a Godspeed You Black Emperor! song, with Troupe's viola weaving upwards through a bed of strummed guitars and ethereal synths, the music building towards one of those classic post-rock crescendo that give you goosebumps no matter how many times you hear them. When the vocals come in, Troupe and fellow singer Daniel Lawson use their harmonies to slowly ascend to what sounds like the highest note in both their ranges.