I have mentioned before
how much i like the band Do Make Say Think. They are a post-rock
powerhouse, crafting long jazzy instrumental tunes that ebb
and flow wonderfully. Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret
Hymn is their fourth full-length release. And, well,
they seem to be cruising in the middle part of their career.
In fact, in general i would say that this is happening with
many of the post-rock bands (Mogwai
and GYBE are also cruising
along, not experimenting quite so much any more). You see, a
few years back, when DMST and those other acts started out,
this post-rock thing was all new. It was fresh and different.
Nowadays, we are on third generation post-rock, and it has lost
some of its freshness, some of its newness. Such is the way
with these things, it is the natural progression.
So Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn doesn't
really seem all that much of a departure from the last few Do
Make Say Think releases. It is still a simmering blend of spacey
solos and jazzy percussion.
Which is not to say that there aren't good tunes here. Frederica, the album's first track, always impresses me each time i hear it. It takes a long time to get going, but eventually an awesome rhythm made up of a loping bass riff and frenetic drumming comes in, and finally the horns chime in. This is a good song that becomes great once the bass kicks in.
I think that the album's closer, Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! also really works. It starts off with acoustic guitar and noodling electronic noises. After a bit (and here i mean "a few minutes") organ and drums come in, and the song builds until it becomes really messy and chaotic. A great way to end the album.
In between those two songs there is a lot to hear. Outer
Inner & Secret builds to a cathartic high like a song by
DMST's countrymen, GYBE. (The
international conspiracy of 4-word-named Canadian bands!) 107
Reasons Why uses horns and delicate guitarwork in a way
that reminds me somewhat of Hood's Cold
House album. Ontario Plates is a simple little
song with an unbelievably catchy melody. And finally, It's
Gonna Rain combines DMST's guitar noodling with clangy IDM
for some much welcomed variety.
Overall i would say that if you have enjoyed their music in the past, then this is another fine release that you will no doubt enjoy. In fact, if you like post-rock in general, then this is a wonderful addition to your collection. If, however, all this vocal-free music leaves you cold, then you probably want to avoid DMST.
Still, Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn not
a bad album, and i bet fans will enjoy it. Heck, i certainly
have. However, i just don't see it moving the genre anywhere,
or expanding DMST's fan base.