Album Review: Leaving My Waiting Room – Sunlight Ascending

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Band: Sunlight Ascending

Title: Leaving My Waiting Room

Genre: Experimental, indie, post-rock, shoegaze

URL: http://sunlight-ascending.bandcamp.com/album/leaving-my-waiting-room

Band introduction: This band doesn’t have any intros or descriptions of their own. The following is taken from a review by http://www.postrockstar.com

“The unsigned 5-piece band, who have played over 200 shows in their 5 or so years together, can be classified as a straight forward post-rock band who have a knack for experimentation in the more ambient or quieter side of the genre while still occasionally dabbling with shoegaze stylings.”

1st Listen: This is post-rock and not particularly original sounding; to start with anyway. After the first couple of tracks I’m treated to some more ambient passages and some tabla like percussion sections. It is post-rock; nothing new there, but Sunlight Ascending have their own sound. Part of the reason I am really drawn in is that I really love how this album has the instruments panned. It gives it a really “live” sound. Spin it with your headphones in to really hear what I mean. This is a great album.

2nd Listen: Intro track “Reductio Ad Absurdum” slowly builds in a typically Explosions In The Sky style beginning that is full of optimism and hope. It then fades and the track ends. It would have been perfect to build into the drum intro of “The Dhanbad Rails”, but alas that was not to be. Perhaps it was too obvious to do that and I’m not thinking out of the box!

This second track is not much to write home about. I like the change of pace about 5 mins in as things get nice and ambient and slowly gain volume. “Vladdie”, the next track, is cool. I love the percussion throughout. It keeps the whole track moving along but without driving it to a crescendo. It’s a shame it doesn’t move on though, it could be another couple of minutes long and I don’t think I’d mind.

“Gleaming Apollo” is ambient and has an almost “light” industrial feel brought through by the percussion. Like “Vladdie”, it doesn’t go anywhere; but it doesn’t really need to. “Multivac” takes up this job. The heaviest track on the album so far it has that feeling of movement but keeps you waiting for the big crescendo to happen. It doesn’t, as such, but still has plenty of great moments. I can imagine this track is a powerhouse live.

Half way through I’m realising that this album is quite lacking in those big, big, moments that post-rock really thrives on. It’s constantly teasing, but rarely delivering. “The Wind Factory” is no different. Fortunately “Picking Up Where We Left Off” finally brings me what I’ve been wanting to hear all album. Overdoing those big moments can kill it, but I don’t think there are enough so far.

“They’re Lonelier On The Outside” uses a ticking clock to great percussive use. It gives the track a glitchy feel throughout. Again it doesn’t really go anywhere when it is begging to do so. I really want “Kalkasha” to be completely epic, but ends up like a poor man’s This Will Destroy You, although the break at about 5:40 is mighty epic and worth the journey through the rest of the song.

“Gamma” is crunchy and bassy. The drums are a standout on this track, they really drive the track. The crescendo disappoints though. Maybe I am too picky!

“Inamovable” is pretty chilled out and paves the way for the title track; which I think is a great end to the album. Punchy, staccato guitar lines that lead into more traditional post-rock melodies and some really dynamic drumming that keeps the rhythm section fresh. This track really carries itself as one of the highlights of the album. Contradictorily this track doesn’t call for a “big” moment and I love every moment.

3rd Listen: There are some really great moments in this album, but it isn’t cohesive enough. I really like parts, but sometimes I feel that the band could have pushed just a little harder to make something brilliant. I haven’t listened to any of their previous work, so I don’t know how they have progressed as a band; but after such a great start my opinion has changed and I really doubt that I’ll listen to this again. Such a shame.

Conclusion: This album displays a lot of talent and has some brilliant moments, but it just doesn’t deliver across the board. I would recommend listening to it and I think a lot of people will overlook my nitpicking and find something great.

  • First Impression: Good
  • Final Impression: Indifferent
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