Caspian have always been all about the texture, and their new record Dust And Disquiet is no exception. Swooping post-rock structures are filled in by rich (and crucially, non standard-issue post-rock) sounds. Produced by former Isis (the band) member Matt Bayles, this is released by Big Scary Monsters.
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Caspian formed back when post-rock was inviting any old sentimental riffer in, back when the genre was at its peak for dilettantes and disappearing acts. In 2007, also known as pre-2010, they might have seemed like a fresh enough thing, only four years removed from the genre’s peak beautification in ‘The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place’. Now, their instrumental rock sounds warmly dated, like they’re fighting the good fight by keeping instrumental climax music in currency. We’re past the Post-rock Is Dead pleasantries, and now we’re just enjoying the genre like fine ambient music: as and when it’s good.
‘Dust and Disquiet’ sways in Caspian’s favour, showing off their hearts and brains in equal measure: the former rises on “Seperation No. 2”, echoing the kind of saccharine, hold-you-in-my-arms post-rock of Sigur Ros, plus the implied jazz influences of (man this sentence is about to look silly) Jaga Jazzist. Caspian are able to evoke moments of unimpeachable delicacy, coming out of the torrential, distorted climax of “Rioseco” with a miniature riff a la Sufjan on “Oh, God, Where Are You Now?”. I like it when Caspain lose their shit, of course, matching tech with ferocity, but it’s always the soft soil they land on that I like best.
“Equal Night” shows the bands predilection for toying with genre cliches before gently ribbing them, with bold piano chords subsided with tape-warped notation, the piece dying out and eventually bleeding into the equally wobbly “Sad Heart of Mine”, which transfers from Boards of Canada iciness into the kind of post-rock Embrace might have made. I’ll never blame a band for wearing their hearts on the sleeve. These dudes have a lot of sleeves.
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