It gets harder and harder for your basic post-rock band to find the paths less travelled. When all the routes circumnavigating rock’s prominent clichis have been well-trodden, where now? One last lap, perhaps, but with even more stealth.
[a]Do Make Say Think[/a] may well be the last band of this kind you really need to concern yourselves with. Even before this first visit to the UK, they’ve been perpetually connected with Godspeed You Black Emperor! thanks to being an instrumental band from Canada (though from Toronto rather than Montreal) on the Constellation label. In the flesh, however, their business is much more discreet than Godspeed‘s apocalyptic gravitas. Not every new Canadian group is packing their cellos in readiness for the end of the world, plainly.
Rather, DMST have perfected an amiable, engaging and pretty much wank-free variant on the old stand-bys of methodical pulse and imprecise squall. The ready reference here, as so often the case, is Tortoise, thanks to the presence of two limber drummers, a majority of tunes piloted by dopey but stoic six-string bass, and the battery of dub fx regularly deployed by a keyboardist with an Ozzy Osbourne T-shirt and frankly audacious goatee.
But the effect of the likes of ‘1978’ is to posit a scenario where Tortoise took a detour into space rock and resisted the lure of jazz after their second album. There are, then, no sneaky time changes, no extraneous complexities; just a steady and inexorable progression towards some wholly predictable and satisfying climax involving loud guitars.
Eventually, they reach ‘Disco & Haze’, the highlight of last year’s self-titled debut, that evolves from a dirty Velvets chug to the kind of furious mantric freak-out patented by Spiritualized circa ‘These Blues’. The roundabout route to nowhere in particular takes plenty of time but, sometimes, it’s worth the trip.