Sagarmatha, the seventh full length by Appleseed Cast, finds the band self-assured and largely home-recorded, indulging in the creation of their art beyond the pressures of hype or doubt that compromise younger and lesser bands. It seems that they understand that for a band that's been making music for ten years to sound fresh, their ideas must be fresh. Sagarmatha integrates the more anthemic sensibilities of Two Conversations (mainly in the very catchy vocal melodies) and the density and distorted rock moments of Peregrine with the experimental tendencies of both Low Level Owl records. While LLO alternated noise and song over two records, pushing and pulling the listener in and out of the din and the narrative, Sagarmatha is a world where the melodic vocals and knotty delayed guitars Appleseed Cast is known for are supported by (and can't exist without) the ambient noise, electronic beats, bells, percussion, and keyboards the band has grown to love.
They've been pegged with various genre names over the years, most of which they've outgrown and outlived. At this point, I think they are best described as weavers: of sounds beautiful and horrible, always intriguing, and of stories in sometimes inscrutable but always evocative lyrics. Their songs draw you in immediately, but demand multiple listens, which is how it should be I think, and is why they've inspired such a loving and long-lasting following. They've weathered many storms of fashion. Sagarmatha is mountain-climbing music, Appleseed Cast are mountain-climbers. Sagarmatha is epic in scope and sound, evoking the horror and beauty of nature, the sublime. A band bred by the ocean and born in Kansas is unafraid to stare into the void of sea or sky. As points of reference, I suggest this record fits somewhere between the intersection of Low and the Flaming Lips, Can and the Postal Service, or Fugazi and Sigur Ros.