Moonlit Sailor - Colors in Stereo
Record Label: Deep Elm
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Post-rock can be a strange genre. There's no shortage of artists who are clearly adept at crafting enjoyable, relaxing instrumental soundscapes. However, it is not uncommon for many of these artists to bleed together, their individuality getting lost in a sprawling sea of reverb-drenched guitar arpeggios and crashing percussion. So while it's no challenge to find enjoyable post-rock, finding some that truly sticks out can be a bit more daunting. Enter Borås, Sweden's Moonlit Sailor. Their sound can easily be characterized as "cinematic," shifting effortlessly from subdued, twinkling guitar lines to grandiose waves of distortion, driven home by the band's expertly interwoven drum and bass backbone. And while these traits are by no means exclusive to the band, they implement them in such a way that leaves many of their instrumental contemporaries paling in comparison.
The album opens with "Kodac Moment," a song that encapsulates everything that makes Moonlit Sailor great in a single three-minute, thirty-four-second track. Beginning on a relaxing, almost hypnotic note, the song gradually builds until exploding into a fist-pumping rush of excitement. The band fires on all four cylinders, their musical prowess on full display. The following tracks run the emotional gamut, leaving the listener feeling relaxed, excited, sad, happy, contemplative - the whole nine yards. Their music is a prime example of just how effective instrumental music can be; devoid of all vocal and lyrical interruption, the music alone speaks for itself, and it speaks volumes. It's abundantly clear that the band pours every ounce of themselves into what they do, channeling every facet of human existence into their art. It's not uncommon for someone to find themselves feeling rather introspective while listening to their music. Indeed, it's the kind made for cool nights sitting on the porch, gazing thoughtfully into the stars. It's exactly what these songs sound like: a moment of personal clarity occupied by no one but yourself and the music, and the dawning realization that for all the ups and downs, life is pretty great.
So while this record may sound like just another post-rock effort to the casual listener, the more it sinks in, the more in touch with it you become. And it's with each return to this record that the subtleties become more apparent; each song's unique character becomes more and more defined. Overall, the album isn't quite as strong as its predecessor (2009's So Close to Life). It is, nonetheless, another welcome addition to Moonlit Sailor's young, but captivating, catalog of post-rock bliss. It's unfortunate that Moonlit Sailor has yet to attain the level of success they deserve. Given the proper exposure, the band is sure to win over the ears of many, casual listeners and post-rock aficionados alike.
Here's hoping that Colors in Stereo helps this band attain the kind of recognition they've deserved since they released their debut EP, A Footprint of Feeling, in 2007. If anything can propel them to post-rock stardom, it's Colors in Stereo.