The first album in eight years from this long running Toronto collective. Now in their third decade, the group have created a critically acclaimed back catalogue and have become one of the most venerated names in the post rock canon. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is another example of the bands DIY ethos all recorded and produced themselves balancing guitar based compositions with electronic influenced production.
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Barnyard post-rockers awaken from their decade-long hibernation and realise that the world is kinda not so much what it was. People don’t get free passes for making the sounds they do anymore; you can’t be Explosions In The Sky and get away with it. Still, what DMST have always had against the grain of other bands in their second-gen alumnus group is that they just really fucking banged; like Tortoise, their music was always things that shot straight to the core. Whether through crystalline guitars or siren song horns, their music has always been tight, propulsive, exciting, pretty… things that just feel good as sound.
‘Stubborn Persistent Illusions’ is the very same: it travels through twinkling melodies and brushed jazz drums, floats into horn fanfare and gets massively obsessed with certain riffs (used over and over and over again). It’s a beautiful record that, fitting of its theme of dream illusions, is both absent-minded and stern gazing. Its mid-section becomes one long suite of coalescing riffs and electronic embellishments which round on themselves like a dream collapsing its full circle. It’s very earthy but on earth there is a lot of fog sometimes, and on those days you really notice and say things like “wow, it’s foggy today” -- enter, this record, dual-wielding tight rhythms and a backdrop of free jazz, when it pleases.
DMST are still very much rockers on this record, arguably most resembling their ‘Other Truths’ selves with a touch of the jazziness afforded in early records and a hint of that gentle pastorality running through ‘A History In Rust’. It’s all held together by the kind of dynamic tension that can make a riff sound like a whole highway’s worth of action. Well worth the eight years of tinkering.
9/10 gbar Customer review, 13th December 2017
Do Make Say Think have been widely celebrated as one of the preeminent instrumental rock bands of the 1990s/2000s. This year, the collective from Toronto, Canada released ‘Stubborn Persistent Illusions’, their first album in eight years, and it’s another example of the band’s DIY ethos as it has all been recorded and produced by themselves, balancing nine compositions of guitar-based beauty with an electronic influence.
The grand opener “War On Torpor” is not one of those ‘calm before the storm’ post-rock openers - this IS the storm, as it builds up a harmonious roar overtop a frenzied and exuberant scurry of drums. “Her Eyes on the Horizon” is another standout piece that features a beautiful horn and string-heavy interlude that builds for a few minutes before creating an optimistic release. The centrepiece suite “Bound” and its successor track, “And Boundless” is a 12-minute gem that showcases the band’s experience and maturity, as twinkling guitars and pounding drums bounce back and forth yet stay intact with a satisfying ‘chorus,’ where the bass and slide guitar works together perfectly. Then there’s the sentimental, yet euphoric finale “Return, Return Again” that builds on one idea (a jazzy math-rock guitar line) that constantly demands attention throughout thanks to the instrumentation that surrounds it.
An album full of soaring instrumentals, jagged breakdowns, stunning ambience and grooving twists, Do Make Say Think are still able to captivate as much as ever after such a long time away.
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