Symbolo | s/t (s/r)

cd_symbolo.jpgIt’s the intricate interplay of instruments—guitars, keyboards, violin and effects—combined with Brandon Rice’s eerie, almost angry vocals that defines this band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, you know Symbolo: used to go by Sleepwalker, couple of brothers in the band, Lisa Andris’ whiz kid on drums? This bunch of college kids had begun making a name for itself, getting ready to record, when they realized: They weren’t the only Sleepwalker out there. Enter a new name, but the same ethereal, haunting, shoegaze-y songs you’ve come to know and love.

Their self-titled disc contains 11 songs at times ambient, at times desperate and cacophonous. Though utterly captivating at times, the disc gets off to an unfortunately slow start: It’s about halfway through third track "Modern Prophet" before its wings spread and it lifts off the ground. It’s the intricate interplay of instruments—guitars, keyboards, violin and effects—combined with Brandon Rice’s eerie, almost angry vocals that defines this band. In other words, when all the parts are crafted and clanging, the music really comes alive.

"Rome Is Burning," a holdover from an early Sleepwalker demo, is here given studio treatment, and the result is nothing short of evocative. A stark violin mid-song is chilling; slowly, the drumbeats intensity until they’re almost march-like, a guitar line winding above it all. Next up, "Blink’s Theme" is also vividly engrossing; as it teases and toys, the clock ticking by, you don’t know when it’s going to explode; you just know it will. Violin features heavily on this track, along with many others.

"Doldrums" is dark, funereal, yet also searingly beautiful. "Skinwalker" is spine-tingling, shiver-inducing, both frightful and fragile, as Rice nearly spits, "And we do what we’re told." Disc closer "Wiser Son" blazes brightly, thanks to finger-picked strings, an orgy of instrumentation and Rice’s plaintive wail. Brilliant.

At the end of Symbolo, you’re satiated, stretched, exhausted, and yet you still go back for more: hit "repeat," sink back into your chair, drained. This is music that hasn’t all been done before; this is music that’s passionate and possessed and particular. This, my friends, is music. A | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Elbow, Explosions in the Sky

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply