For anyone remotely versed in Temporary Residence’s stable of epic instrumental bands, Japan’s Envy will ring instantly familiar. Like Explosions in the Sky before them, Envy has a wholly cinematic scope in mind from the first note on opener “A Road of Winds the Water Builds.” It’s a post-rock stock-in-trade number that gradually repeats soft guitar lines interweaving a stormy rhythm section. While not terribly original in concept, Abyssal adds to the mix with consistent vocal passages. Like the music they accompany, voices range from guttural and abrasive to whispered and evocative, leading the aggro/passive, quiet/loud dynamic to work in several new permutations rarely found in post-rock. Of the four tracks that make up this EP, “A Road of Winds…” finds the band coming as close as possible to a full realization of their sound, and lays the groundwork for more straightforward numbers like the apocalyptic hardcore of “All That’s Left Has Gone to Sleep” and the ambient ripples of closer “Fading Vision.”
Lyrically, the group splits its time between two muses: nature/universe and human frailty. Sung entirely in Japanese, most listeners won’t be able to tell one track from the next without perusing the booklet, but suffice it to say hippie-centric lines like “the melody echoes and cleanses the earth” are a little easier to handle than emo rehashes along the lines of “on this day, a thousand scars were born.” Ultimately, it’s the music that will dictate this release’s success or failure for Western ears. Abyssal should please those looking for a soundtrack to summer vignettes on the horizon.
Temporary Residence Ltd: www.temporaryresidence.com