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Coming at a time when Pelican had made the switcheroo between heavy rawker labels Hydra Head and Southern Lord, ‘What We All Come To Need’ sums up why the band were good for both labels: an emotive, freefalling post-metal band with the self-seriousness of the best Isis records, the band could just as easily mutate into a sillier, sludgier and more deformed version of themselves, laying into the very aesthetic Greg Anderson’s Southern Lord has been celebrating all these years. Opening up on the gorgeously riffed “Glimmer”, the band soon prove themselves versatile at the cresdencing instrumental, offering Sunn-kissed doom-drone to transition into “The Creeper”.
While ‘What We All Come To Need’ doesn’t offer a drastic shift in the band’s strictly calibrated and meticulously structured sound, moments show Pelican dabbling with new creative ideas -- for the first side of music, it’s fairly clear that the band are just honing their sound, attempting to bring their tech metal influence (nodded to in the stuttering riffs of “”Ephemeral”) together with their more aspirational, crystalline post-rock sound. Get all the way to “Final Breath”, though, and you’ll get to experience the Pelcian equivalent of yelling “first!” in a Youtube video comments section: here, the band enlist vocalist Allen Epsley to give the band their first ever song, his sad, super alt-rock sighs breathing their way through the sludgy guitars and coalescing drums.
For a band with such a righteously consistent discography, it’s hard to place ‘What We All Come To Need’ at the top of the pile. It does, however, strive to be their most grandiose moment, with proper narrative bookends and heartwrenching climaxes. That makes it a kind of triumphant slog: you gotta wade through the swamp of sludge if you want to feel.
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- What We All Come To Need by Pelican
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