Pelican | City of Echoes (Hydrahead)

cd_pelicanFor a rock fan, there are certain bands' names you don't want to hear mentioned alongside "pop" in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence.

 

 

 

 

I am sure that I was not the only person who cringed when reading the word "pop" in the description of this disc at Insound.com. Here you have Pelican, who less than two years ago scaled the mountaintop with an album (The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw) nothing short of astounding. A disc that would have been my top pick for 2005 if not for the Hold Steady's Separation Sunday. For a rock fan, there are certain bands' names you don't want to hear mentioned alongside "pop" in the same paragraph, let alone the same fucking sentence. Therefore, City of Echoes arrived with a bit of trepidation

Shorter than Fire by a track and 16 minutes, City of Echoes does not contain a single song that even approaches the 10-minute mark. So kiss your quasi-metal instrumental epics goodbye. City of Echoes starts strong, really strong with "Bliss in Concrete," "City of Echoes," and "Spaceship Broken – Parts Needed." Now color me inflexible, but the acoustic "Wind With Hands" simply slows this disc down. Some folks might call it an interlude or a bridge, but in my book, it comes off like a mile-long stretch of rumble strips paved right in the middle of a lane of I-70 for no other reason than to slow your momentum. It is not a bad song, but it is strangely out of place.

City of Echoes quickly gets back in the rock groove with "Dead Between the Walls," "Lost in the Headlights," and "Far From Fields." It concludes with the reflective "A Delicate Sense of Balance," which serves as a rather fitting and appropriate way to close the disc.

With regard to City of Echoes being Pelican's pop album, you can throw that description out the window, flush it down the toilet, or grind it in the garbage disposal. If a time comes when Pelican cuts all its songs under the four-minute mark, then we may have something to worry about. However, until that time, rest easy; Pelican still rocks. B+ | David Lichius

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