And So I Watch You From Afar – Letters EP And So I Watch You From Afar – Letters EP

And So I Watch You From Afar - Letters EPWhere to go for a band that has achieved so much in the last two years? Belfasts’ And So I Watch You From Afar have gone from being a niche instrumental band to a post rock behemoth that have ensured their legacy in Northern Ireland’s musical history. From confident but raw sounding EPs to sell out venues and a blistering debut album, ASIWYFA look set to shatter the kryptonite of all NI artists: being able to leave home to conquer overseas. With a UK tour underway and their technical noodling gaining overwhelming success, (particularly in Japan) that seems settled. Musically speaking however, moving forward was always going to prove more challenging for an instrumental band.

The Letters EP comes as a sort of reassuring pat on the shoulder from the band as if to say, “We’re still here”. The flagbearer for the EP, “S Is For Salamander” explodes in a cascade of whiny, drone like guitars. Despite going on for slightly too long for my tastes, it serves its purpose; We’re here, and you better not have forgotten about us. The usual stop/start mechanics break the song down for a split second, and we’re off again; through a whirl of crashing cymbals and chest bursting guitars. It’s all of the bands’ tricks in one four minute gulp. Despite the tendency for Salamanders’ melody to lean slightly towards power metal, it’s still going to be a song for which the band are remembered, if even because of how much they are pushing this one live.

Elsewhere the boys show they still know how to keep it tight. Despite it’s playful front, “K Is For Killing Spree (An Ode To)” displays both both the poised focus of a metal song and the perspective of post-rocks’ grander moments, and eventually culminates in an epic cascade of instrumentation that no listener will soon forget. The punchy middle eastern quake of “D Is For Django The Bastard” displays one of the bands’ more useful talents; being able to create brilliant post rock music for the iPod generation. With attention spans as short as they are and breakfasts being substituted for large lattes, instrumental music isn’t a particularly smart move. They pull it off time and time again though, ensuring, crucially, that you will both remember them and want to listen to them again.

It’s still only a stop gap EP however, and as such all tracks need to be virtually perfect for serious adulation. They ain’t, but they’re good at what they are; titbits to tide the fans over until album number two slams its way through their skulls. Whilst they haven’t raised, jumped over, moved, or done anything with the bar that hasn’t already been done before, (by themselves) ASIWYFA have reminded fans with this EP that they haven’t gone anywhere; Nor are they about to.

1. S Is for Salamander (3:58)
2. D Is for Django the Bastard (2:31)
3. B Is for B-Side (2:49)
4. K Is for Killing Spree (Ode to) (6:43)

And So I Watch You From Afar - Letters EP, reviewed by Lemon on 2010-01-21T17:05:58-08:00 rating 3.7 out of 5

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