This Will Destroy You - This Will Destroy You
Record Label: Magic Bullet Records
Release Date: January 29, 2008
The Kennedy Space Center is where America’s dream to put a man on the moon was launched. Fixated on the eastern coast of Florida, the center has launched hundreds of spacecraft into outer space, such as the Viking mission which was sent to determine if life exists on Mars, while others, such as Galileo, have been sent to the far reaches of our solar system to monitor and research planets. However, they’ve yet to launch a mission called This Will Destroy You, probably because the San Marcos, Texas post-rock quartet have already copyrighted the name, or because the band has already erased any misgivings NASA has had about sounds of space. Either way, the band’s most recent self-titled release often makes me feel as if I myself am on one of the missions, perhaps circling the Earth, repairing a defunct spy satellite, or free floating to an unknown demise.
In the essence of post-rock semantics, the first track, entitled “A Three-Legged Workhorse,” opens much as I expected—slowly. By mixing rudimentary synthesizers and other electronically produced sounds, the song slowly decides to include clean guitar with a tone much similar to that found on an Explosions in the Sky record before building to full capacity behind truly considerable instrumentation, with layer upon layer of guitar, synthesizer, and electronics. Although a simple addition it may be, the static-y electronics truly separate this song from the rest, evoking a feeling of otherworldliness. Unknowingly, the track then transitions into “Villa Del Refugio,” a very lulling and minimalistic track filled with minor guitar swells. I imagine it like the background noise before a rocket takes off, except in this case, there is no take off. Instead the song surprisingly ends without a climax. “Threads,” however, offers no meandering introduction but instead opens with clean electric guitar and drums, which slowly builds into another larger movement. Although it isn’t groundbreaking, this music never gets old to me, especially the beautifully layered strings and the domineering guitar melody holding the latter half of the movement together. “The Mighty Rio Grande” floats on with bass drum and cymbal flourishes and again slowly builds with thicker cymbal crashes before ever reaching a climax. However, the song seems to be shaped like two bell-curves, with the former having a higher y-value then the latter. Indeed, the second movement marks some of the most aggressive music on the album. “They Move on Tracks of Never-Ending Light” marks a return of the electronics, which innately evokes a feeling of mystery. “Burial on the Presidio Banks,” was my most memorable track upon first listen, but upon second listen, fell short of what I remembered. However, the song still retains a level attractiveness, due chiefly to the four-chord progression that mounts with intensity and tonality before closing heavily among cymbal crashes and delay.
Many times I’ve heard this band compared to Sigur Rós and Explosions in the Sky, and I must say I have to agree with the comparisons. The truth is, This Will Destroy You haven’t reinvented post-rock. But, much like the discovery of a new species of poison frog, the band have uncovered a new layer of it, offering music that differs slightly in scope.
Someone once told me space is silent; that every movie that portrays an open space explosion with digitally enhanced sounds is falsely illustrating what it is really like out there. But I choose to agree with Hollywood, only because I believe that if astronauts played This Will Destroy You while drifting through space, they'd feel much more like they belonged there.