Song of the Silent Land
I’ve had this disc for quite a while, but I constantly put off reviewing it when it sporadically rises to the top of my “to do” stack. It’s not for a lack of quality, since I’m a fan of many of the bands contributing here. It’s more a case of lacking the capacity to take this album in as a whole enough times before feeling ready to report on it. Clocking in at 77+ minutes, every member of Constellation Records is present and using their allotted time to the fullest. Only two songs, Elizabeth Anka Vajagic’s “The Sky Lay Still” and Black Ox Orkestar’s “Toyle Goyes in Shineln,” have appeared previously, and while these are good songs in their own right, they unfortunately seem like extraneous girth.
For a label so synonymous with orchestral post-rock, Constellation shows facets from all across the indie rock spectrum. RE:, Exhaust and Hangedup all offer up the grinding of factory gears and the scouring of swampy, forgotten junkyards. Sackville, Sofa and Frankie Sparo soar low through bassy, sparse folk. Do Make Say Think compress their newest album into the five minute danceless remix “Winter Hymn Winter Hymn Winter Hymn.” Silver Mt. Zion sweats through a Halloween fever dream on “Iron Bridge to Thunder Bay.” Le Fly Pan Am’s “Tres Tres ‘Avant’” is subliminal carnival funk, an explosion going off under water.
The only real dud on here is 1-Speed Bike’s dated dance beats and weak soapbox preaching of “Fair Warning.” This track is forgiven and forgotten in the wake of Godspeed’s elegant xylophone and strings closer “Outro.” The bombast, the artifice and the machines of the rest of the album is laid to rest on this track, which sings the most bittersweet song of all, without any words. While not as perfectly formed as Temporary Residence’s comp or as lengthy as Merge’s, Song of the Silent Land is nonetheless a great group effort and a worthwhile document for fans on the edge of music.