Album Review
Ester Drang - Rocinate Album Cover

Ester Drang - Rocinate

Reviewed by
Ester DrangRocinate
Record Label: Jade Tree
Release Date: January 24, 2006

1. Come Back Alive
2. Valencia’s Dying Dream
3. Grave Mistake
4. Hooker With a Heart of Gold
5. Great Expectations
6. Everyone Is a Victim
7. Smoke and Air
8. Caledonia
9. White Lies
10. Proustian Moments

Ester Drang’s third full length, Rocinate, a lazy, spacious, dreamy, indie pop album, is most certainly an agreeable record. It’s hard to find fault with its delicate textures, its dark, echoed vocals, its varied instrumentation, and its mellow, laid back vibe, but—ay, there’s the rub—the album is probably just a little too breezy, a little too subtle, for its own good. The songs float along nonchalantly, and that’s what makes this album both so endearing, yet underwhelming. While the music of, say, Sigur Ros, though also subdued (keep in mind that the two bands sound nothing alike), is powerful and moving, Rocinate comes up a little weak in its delivery. That’s not to say it isn’t a good album, for that couldn’t be further from the truth, but there’s something preventing the record from being truly special.

With a couple of Ester Drang’s members having lent their hands to last year’s biggest indie release, Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois, Rocinate marks those members’ chance to shine. And shine they do, particularly on tracks like the instrumental “Caledonia,” a midtempo, piano-driven tune in which one encounters light, bouncing organ-esque keys, faint, reverbed, delayed horns, swelling electronics, and all sorts of other goodies layered over ever-shifting drums. “Hooker With a Heart of Gold,” which somehow sounds like the byproduct of a Wilco, Pink Floyd, Coldplay three-way, is an enjoyable little tune, but, representative of the album as a whole, leaves a little to be desired. Hopefully on Ester Drang’s next release, the boys from Oklahoma will be able to find that certain something that’s just missing—it won’t take much.
This review is a user submitted review from Rohan Kohli. You can see all of Rohan Kohli's submitted reviews here.
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