|Yndi Halda — Under Summer (March 4, 2016)|
Yndi Halda — Under Summer (March 4, 2016) ° Cinematic, string–heavy post–rock group from Canterbury, England.
° It’s quite frightening, honestly. Sometimes I feel keeping up with new bands and new records is like swimming against an impossible tsunami of music. There are so many millions of artists and endless ways to encounter their music. I don’t believe it’s easier. Sure SoundCloud, Spotify, BandCamp, etcetera bring new music to people who want to hear it, but it also highlights how infinite it all is. And none of the new streaming platforms have allowed any insight into how painful, time consuming, and expensive record writing and producing remains. If anything, it has reduced this perspective because there is less time to hear about it. I have most respect for artists like Vashti Bunyan – she shuns the current system altogether – and others like Mount Eerie, who adapt it all to their own needs without ‘playing the game.’
Formed: 2001 in Canterbury, England
Location: Canterbury, England
Styles: Post–Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock
Album release: March 4, 2016
Record Label: Big Scary Monsters (UK, Europe) and Burnt Toast Vinyl (USA)
1 Together Those Leaves 10:36
2 Golden Threads from the Sun 14:12
3 Helena 18:07
4 This Very Flight 15:04
° Artwork — Hannah Clare
° Mastered by — Stephen Roessner
° Performer — Alexander Petersen, Daniel Neal, Jack Lambert, James Vella, Oliver Newton
° Performer [Additional Performance], Cello — Auriol Evans
° Recorded by — Chris D’Adda, Toby May
° Recorded by, Mixed by — Alexander Petersen
° Written by, Performer — Yndi Halda
Big Scary Monsters (UK/EU) pressing:
° 200 x clear with cream splatter (THIS)
° 800 x black Notes:
° First album since their 2006 debut “Enjoy Eternal Bliss”
° Double vinyl presented in gatefold sleeve and pressed on cookies and cream (off white/black marbled) colored vinyl and includes digital download
° Mastered by Grammy award winning producer Stephen Roessner
° Vinyl lacquers cut by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering
° US press and publicity by Force Field PR, UK press and publicity by Prescription PR AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson; Score: ***½
° It seems only fitting that a group known for quarter–hour post–rock epics would take an entire decade to follow up their rhapsodic debut. Canterbury, England ensemble Yndi Halda earned a devoted fan base following the release of their 2005 debut Enjoy Eternal Bliss (originally a self–released three–song EP, it was expanded and released internationally in 2006), leading to worldwide tours and festival appearances. The band slowly began developing new material, premiering some of it in late 2007, with several unspecified setbacks delaying the album’s recording, mixing, and release until March of 2016. While the group still construct elegantly flowing suites with swelling strings and guitars, marked by dramatic pauses and shifts in rhythm and intensity, the main difference here is that vocals play more of a role in the group’s sound. Wordless choral vocals briefly surfaced on Enjoy Eternal Bliss, but this album begins with soft, intimate near–whispers painting verbal imagery about hair growing like cactus. After a few shimmering instrumental passages of varying dynamic levels, the music breaks for a calm moment and massed vocals appear before the song builds back up again. Aside from the increased presence of vocals, the album employs more acoustic instruments than before, incorporating banjo and violin as well as guitar. Even when they plug their guitars in, they keep relatively calm, and don’t set off full throttle the way Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Mogwai do at their most fervent. The album does have more of a dynamic range overall, going from very sparse, isolated moments to more orchestrated, uptempo segments. “Golden Threads from the Sun” goes from a near–silent middle up to a festive, strangely disco–sounding 4/4 rhythm (with a lone, mournful violin guiding the melody, of course). 18–minute standout “Helena” starts out somewhat bombastic before settling into the album’s most straightforward rhythm, finally ending up at a dreamy, drifting conclusion. While notably more accessible, Yndi Halda haven’t go. ne pop, by any means. This is still heady, attention span–requiring music, and it’s still an ideal soundtrack for a sad, dramatic coming–of–age film. But the group have grown significantly in the ten years following their debut, and Under Summer is a successful follow–up. ° http://www.allmusic.com/ Review by Nick Mongiardo; Score: ***½
° Review Summary: Their pacing needs some work in the softer sections, but for the most part, Under Summer is a passionate return to form ten years in the making.
° Well, this is it. This is the album that dedicated post rock lovers have been waiting for. For the most part, it doesn’t disappoint because the band’s trademark glorious interplay between the strings, guitar and piano still remains intact. This band showed people with Enjoy Eternal Bliss that the potent combination of these instruments can be one of the most powerful ones. Under Summer proves no different and the added touch of soothing vocals is a welcome touch. Granted, their pacing needs some work and it does meander in the quieter sections. However, Yndi Halda’s sophomore outing is so heartwarming that it’s quite difficult to hate.
° Right off the bat, the band showcases their classical post rock style with “Together Those Leaves.” It introduces the surprising addition of soft vocals and throws us into a fray of classical string arrangements. It certainly takes some sweet time as it continuously ascends in scale, but everything is wondrously pleasant. The middle section also reveals the band’s composition weaknesses in the softer segments too. ° They haven’t ran out of ways to grip us with elegance, but Enjoy Eternal Bliss had the added luxury of splendid songwriting. It does drag a bit, but once the song revs up it pays off. “Together Those Leaves” is evidence of this in its atmosphere rich in soaring tremolo picking and climatic string crescendos. It’s nothing outside of the box, but they use their Mono/Explosions in the Sky influence exceptionally well and it gets the job done.
° “Golden Threads from the Sun” and “Helena” both continue the greatness. “Golden Threads from the Sun” brings to mind Talk Talk with its atmospheric keyboard sound. Once again, its softer interlude part rambles, but the rest is expertly driven by soothing gang vocals, engaging drumming and lush textures. It all collides together in a massive climax, featuring a wall of sound reminiscent of Mono’s style. Meanwhile, “Helena” contrasts the uplifting sound with a darker wall of sound after a slow burning beginning. It’s minimalist section showcases steady drumming and gentle strings, but it’s once again that could have been trimmed down. It continuously adds on layers of distortion and piano melodies, but for some reason slows down only to lead nowhere. ° It’s a bit of a tense that signifies a powerful climax, but only manages to reveal the bands over reliance of strings. It’s not a bad song by any means, but it’s strong evidence that their pieces of music need to be patched up.
° “This Very Flight” ends the album on a somber note, with the layers of strings making for a gripping atmosphere. The band utilizes pleasing vocals again here which is a nice change of pace. The string textures swell and the exception guitar work ascends as the pace quickens. It’s a beautiful note to end this welcome, but flawed return to form. Yndi Halda quickly solidified themselves as titans of post rock with Enjoy Eternal Bliss and they still are with Under Summer. They have a certain classical beauty about them that reveals hard to hate for genre fans. Aside from uneven songwriting and over reliance on strings, Under Summer exists as an appreciated addition to a colossal year for music. Any fanatics of post rock should not pass this up.
Interview, Hugh Thomas: http://arcticdrones.com/interviews/yndi-halda/
|Yndi Halda — Under Summer (March 4, 2016)|