Some weighty business from Pelican. The Cliff is the new EP from these Chi-town head nodders. This is a record of remixes from other sludge lords from ISIS and Godflesh. A combination of a bone crushing low end, melodic guitar picking, gruffly warm vocals and trudging drums. A mixture of post-rock, stoner rock and metal with a pretty big hook at the end - whats not to like? Out on 12" vinyl from Southern Lord.
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- The Cliff by Pelican
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“The Cliff” originally appeared on Pelican’s album ‘Forever Becoming’ -- there’s a nice bit of daunting existentialism to start off your day -- but a more interesting story is told by the post-metal clique on this new EP, which puts the song to the fore of proceedings and does new, weird things that the band rarely ever do. First up: they sing. That’s a feat and a half for this band of instrumental stargazers, who have only used vocals once prior to this release. When the voice comes in, it’s a definite shock, but they also leave said singing to a steady tenor: guest cast member Allen Epley comes in and emotes seriously and sonorously overtop, and like Mark Lanegan stepping onto Earth’s plains, he gives this already weighty music a regal gravitas.
Next up is the inevitable remix afterparty. The remix crew for this outing know their way around a bit of post-metal bloodletting: Justin Broadrick is responsible for the dark ambience of Jesu, as well as, you know, Godflesh, so there’s no mercy to be found in his remix, which narrows its gaze onto the morose deliverance of Pelican’s original. Members of Isis and Palms work an additional second remix in which the vocal version of the track is obscured and condensed, with Epley’s vocals swirling around in a haze of distortion and stormed percussion. Considering the band’s vocal interpretation of “The Cliff”, which is earnest and clearly produced to the point of being jarring, this is a compellingly disorientating interpretation.
Finally there’s “The Wait”, a previously unreleased track that sees Pelican use shy guitar riffs as persuaded by the downtempo vibe of emo. The song eventually sees hands sliding down a guitar’s frets, as if it’s the same as shooting a cannon into the sky, for a ceremonial climax that leads to the usual story: waves of distortion, elgaic chords and an aspirational kind of sludge rock that recalls Coldplay as much as Isis. It’s the real treat of this ambitious EP.
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