by Jacob Millay
To describe the music of the band This Will Destroy You as atmospheric would be an understatement. The atmosphere is built around the music that this four-piece band from Texas creates.
This Will Destroy You is part of a sub-genre of music called post-rock. Typical post-rock songs are long, instrumental songs with guitars providing texture to the music rather than the more traditional rhythmic and chordal role of a guitar in rock music.
This Will Destroy You is one of the more prominent bands that has come out of the post-rock movement. However, they have not stopped evolving since their first album, “Young Mountain.” That first album has been one of the most characteristic albums of post-rock music. It features guitar riffs with heavy delay and reverb, crescendos and brutal distortion when the songs kick into high gear.
As the years have gone on, the band has continued to change and evolve. While some bands stagnate over time, This Will Destroy You has pushed themselves into deeper corners with each new release. Their latest album, “Another Language,” is no different.
There are a total of nine tracks on the album, and each one drips with noise. There is a startling amount of reverb on the album, which also features many samples, loops, electronic drum tracks and synthesizer reminiscent of an 1980’s pop band. These add to the already impressive chemistry the band has for making loud, guitar-laden, nasty music when they want to.
Parts of this album will make listeners feel like they are drifting through the cosmos with only the stars as their company. The beginning of “War Prayer” has this feeling laden within it. The open guitar picking with the quiet ambient swells and minimalistic drums create a mood that lets the listener be carried away.
However, just when the listener gets comfortable with the direction of the song, This Will Destroy You will take them in a whole new direction. “War Prayer” ends with a big crescendo featuring screeching guitars and a sample–a superimposed sound-clip of incoherent speech–leaving the listener straining to understand. It comes out of left field and adds to the texture of the song. Suddenly instead of drifting through space you are caught in a wormhole that is pulling you underneath.
This idea of doing the unexpected is the main thing to take away from this album as well as the whole discography of This Will Destroy You. Don’t get me wrong– they still make guitar-heavy instrumental music. They are not going to come out with an R&B album next (I think), but they are finding ways to add new textures to the base of post-rock that already exists for them.
A lot other bands never found a way to push themselves out of their comfort zone, but with each new release, This Will Destroy You does that very thing. And, as a listener, you will be pushed as well.
The album is truly jaw-dropping. It is occasionally reminiscent of the “shoegaze” movement, which came out of the U.K. in the late 1980s and gave birth to groups such as My Bloody Valentine and The Pixies. Each track builds on a reverb home, but adds a new swell or a different drum sound or a different sample. Each level builds off of the others.
It really is an amazing album and will be on repeat on my computer for at least the next year. I would definitely recommend listening to this album in one shot.