And how we've been waiting for this one. Finally,
finally they came and delivered unto us the debut album of
Sweden's Immanu El. There will be few better releases this
I wonder how many people, like myself, make a point of visiting
the Cathedral each time we are in a new city? The experience
is rarely surprising, yet such buildings remain captivating
and ever so slightly humbling, whatever your persuasion. They'll
come.. is structurally odd and hardly original yet
somehow all the more enchanting for it. Steeped in melancholy,
it offers hope and solace by way of the airy, uplifting deployment
of keys, guitars, and vocals.
We begin with Under Your Wings I'll Hide, just short
of the eleven minute mark and every bit as ambitious as its
duration. Personally, I'm far more interested in the pieces
that follow. I would stop short of declaring Under
your wings… generic, but for post-rock audiences it is pretty
standard fare. What is far less typical for the genre is the
ability to record and assemble a satisfying full album. Here
Immanu El triumph in Excelsis.
Immanu El work best with their power of restraint. Only Astral
Days meanders unsatisfactorily. Home reveals the
gospel essence of the band despite its languid, playful exterior.
The breathtaking White Seraphs Wild finds the target Under
Your Wings… arguably overreached. Kosmonaut is
a lovely piece of misdirection. Panda and its reprising
companion piece I Know You So Well are pre-known,
re-worked and beloved of existing fans. Panda, something
of a signature tune for the group, is actually a re-working
of a track called North Port, by peer band Sanchez
Is Driven By Demons. The original is a far more processed
affair. Completing the circle, I Know You So Well is
another take on a Sanchez song entitled…Panda.
There are quasi-religious undertones to They'll Come.. hitherto
unnoticed by critics. These will be apparent to anyone who
knows the origin of "immanu el". I am of the opinion that to
explore this avenue might easily detract from the music. Let
us just say this - They'll Come, They Come is
the kind of record that makes you want to recreate the Sistine
Chapel as an ice-sculpture and paint the ceiling with rainbows.
As the quite perfect In Valleys draws the record to
its close, comparisons with the hushed, hymnal vocals of Gregor
Samsa's Champ Bennett cannot be avoided. Yet these Swedes
could cite a host of geographically closer peers, not least
ef, Logh, and the aforementioned Sanchez. One suspects these
guys could soon be looking toward a certain lauded Icelandic
act for their next reference point.
Aim high Immanu El. Heavenward and under your wings we'll