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  Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord Is Dead  
  Do Make Say Think  
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Today i am reviewing Post-Rock albums. In order, the reviews are:

  1. Gwei-lo by Gwei-lo
  2. Spine and Sensory by Tristeza
  3. Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landord Is Dead by Do Make Say Think

It might make sense to read these in order. Or not. You choose!


Okay, so i saved the best for last! Of the three Post-Rock albums, this is by far the best.

Do Make Say Think are not just an instrumental rock band, they are masterful musicians who take jazz, rock, and hippy jam-rock, and stir them together to make an interesting mix of bouncey and listenable music. It's a delicious swirl of horns, guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards.

I lump them into the Post-Rock category because:

  1. They make instrumental music.
  2. They are not a typical band who would receive radioplay in much of Tha States.
  3. They record on Constellation Records, the same label that releases uber-Post-Rock band Godspeed You Black Emperor!
  4. Just look at that album title! I mean, c'mon ....

So there you go. Maybe DMST is really a jazz band. I dunno. I mean, they DO use horns and rhythms in a way that might get classified as jazz in certain circles. Actually, fellow minion Tracers and i have discussed this genre-ization at length ... After a while, labelling becomes so difficult that it ultimately fails. Let's just assume that my classification is correct and move on.

I have used the word "jazz" three times in this review so far, and i know that it frightens some people, so i just want everyone to be forewarned that i am going to use the term again.

Jazz. Jazz. Jazz. Jazz. Jazz.

There. Anybody who is truly frightened should have fled by now and the rest of us can proceed.

First i think i should explain why i think many people are afraid of jazz. Quite simply, jazz as it currently exists and as i and so many other human beings know it, is probably the most self-indulgent musical genre in existence (yes, even more so than post-hippie Jam Rock!) It's all about people who are really competent at their instruments making music to show you how amazingly competent they are. Woo hoo, good for them. Now, that is just one of many popular and frightening opinions of jazz. Another is the whole "Kenny G" thing, but even i am too scared to go there, so let's avoid it!

So, when i say that Do Make Say Think make music that reminds me of jazz, do i mean that they are conceited super-musicians here to tell me what great musicians they are?

Not exactly.

I am attempting to use the term "jazz" in more of a Kerouacian sense. You see, Jack Kerouac spent a lot of time describing jazz in his various books. He made it sound great -- passionate musicans using their instruments to express depths of emotion that transcend mere language! All rhythm that moves you, man, moves YOU like nothing else! All energy that grabs you by the soul and swings you in the air! Yeah baby! That's what St. Jack was talking about. Not Meditations by Coltrane or any of the rest of that unlistenable self-indulgent crap. We're talking about music that excites the soul, but does so with complex rhythm structures.

That's what jazz should be, and that's what it is here.

The six members of Do Make Say Think are incredibly proficient at their music. But they are not so concerned that you know that fact. Instead, they want to get together and express themselves through sound, and if you happen to enjoy that, then all the merrier. And that's one of the things i like about this CD. I get the impression that DMST would be sitting around, hanging out, and making this music anyway, even if they didn't record and release it, because that's what they do. It's what they like, and how they make themselves happy. That level of sheer contentment with what they are doing at the moment shows through.

And i DO like what they are doing. I can sit and happily listen and bop along to this CD for hours. I think that ole Jack would have liked it too!

Let's move on to album specifics. I really like the guitar playing style that dominates that album: strummed notes lingering at the point where fuzz is just beginning to be heard. Almost distorted, but not quite. Simply beautiful.

Noteworthy tracks include The Apartment Song, which features mournful country-esque guitars. And here i mean country in the same way that The Dirty Three are country! It's not about twang and "southerness", but a certain sort of melancholia that stems from deeply rural areas.... I also really like the track Goodbye Enemy Airship with it's sublime keyboard drones over arpeggioed guitars and that amazing two drummers drumming!

So there ya go. This isn't one of those Post-Rock albums that you sit around in a dark candle-lit room and listen to. It's more of an album for driving through the city late at night, with the lights from the buildings speeding by your windows. It's for waking up at 4 AM, unable to sleep, and taking a long walk through sleepy suburbs before you have to go to work at 9.

Now, i really sound like i am gushing over this album here. And i do love it. The more i listen to it, the more i love it. And yet i give it only six sponges. You might very well be wondering, "What's up with that?" Well, as good as this album is, there are better albums. Like the self-titled debut from Do Make Say Think. Now that's perfection. This album is just barely short of perfection. But it's still damn good.

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