Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: Align in Time - Me & My Arrow

A couple weeks ago I posted about the discovery of a new post-rock, instrumental project from John Boles, called Align in Time (then named Me & My Arrow).  I had only heard one song from his album Me & My Arrow, but that one song immediately put this album high on my radar, although somewhat conservatively.  Why you might ask?  Well, I've found that many times post-rock groups will release a single that is easily accessible, but once you hear the rest of the album, it turns out that one single is the black sheep among the tracks.  Instead, the album will diverge to some ambient insanity filled with sounds that just cause my head to hurt.  So yes, I was a little reserved in my anticipation.

Well, December 13th has finally come and gone, and I've had a chance to listen to Me & My Arrow about 30 times (yup, this is what I like to call a "repeater"). To say the least, this album has exceeded my every expectation.  After listening to Me & My Arrow for the first time, I immediately had that feeling of "yeah, he gets it".  This is the kind of music that easily draws you in, grabs hold of your emotions (and ears), and runs with them.

The brilliance of Me & My Arrow lies in the simple, yet beautifully layered structure of each song.  I should be clear that "simplicity" should NOT be taken as an analogy to "repetition".  Boles manages to craft multilayered guitar melodies that keep every minute of this album fresh and pleasing to the ears.  However, the music never becomes frustratingly crowded, as can happen in many post-rock albums.  Boles will also sometimes make a small change in the chording that ever so slightly modifies the feeling coming from the music.  It's during those subtle chord changes where I often thought to myself, "well, that was cool".

Every song holds an extremely catchy melody that should satisfy almost anyone who likes rock.  I could give a rundown of all the tracks, but instead I'll let you experience the beauty of this album for yourself.  I suppose that "The Many Faces", "Men Without Chests", and "Run Home" are standouts for me.  I particularly love the build-up and heavy hook of "Run Home".  But really, this album should be heard as a single entity (on repeat).

Definitely check Me & My Arrow out!  It is definitely in my top-6 (the "6" will make more sense when I post my end of the year list) for the year.

You can stream the entire album and buy it over on Bandcamp.

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