Early Day Miners
One of the greatest things about a new Early Day Miners’ release is you can never be completely sure what to expect. Since the band’s formation in the late ’90s they’ve tried their hand at slow-core, post-rock, americana, ambient, experimentalism and hard-driving indie rock. With Offshore it feels like all the remnants have been gathered together by songwriter Daniel Burton into one cohesive but expansive statement.
The disc opens with the sure-footed percussive assault of “Land of Pale Saints,” a nine-plus minute instrumental sprawl awash in guitar feedback. It’s all held in tight check by the rhythm section before giving way gently to a bed of strings to thread through the ambient afterthoughts of fading guitars. Lyric tracks “Deserter” and the sublime “Sans Revival” rise from the slowly spreading ashes of this track. The former being the more modest of the two, while the latter builds in full shoegazer glory to a plea to run “hand in hand away from destruction, into desertion.”
Black Mountain’s Amber Weber picks up the vocals on “Return of the Native,” the closest this disc offers to the stark americana of the band’s previous album. Gentle electronics glide in the background, while a slide guitar lilts softly and brushed drums propel the song peacefully toward the droning waves unfurled in “Silent Tents.” The closer “Hymn Beneath the Palisades” revisits the opening track’s riffs, magnifying their intensity and eventualy collapsing everything in a hard rock fury.
While not as immediately accessible as their lyric-driven work, Offshore is ultimately as satisfying as anything else in the band’s lexicon. It’s an album to soak in, to get carried away by and well worth the time invested to reach that point.
Secretly Canadian: www.secretlycanadian.com