Pushing the musical envelope has always been part of And So I Watch You from Afar’s forte. The instrumental experimental progressive math rock act from Belfast, Northern Ireland, use an abundance of guitar shredding and rhythms that escape the inhibitions. It’s a sound that hits on multiple levels and never lets up. Their fifth full-length album The Endless Shimmering released on Oct 20 by the Los Angeles indie label Sargent House shows the band moving forward while bringing back what made them great in the first place.
The main difference between The Endless Shimmering and the past couple of albums from And So I Watch You from Afar is that they stopped doing the group chanting and singing. They went back to purely instrumental jams, much like what’s in their initial releases. There’s also a different tone that keeps the band’s raw amplification intact along with having everything sounding clearer. It’s an album that pleases the senses. The variety of progressions within each song’s structure also makes for an interesting listening experience.
A band pushing their sound forward by harking back to their beginnings is unheard of these days. Usually they will keep going with whatever they discovered while making a successful album and riding the wave of its success, but musically it amounts to something that’s nothing like what they started out with. And So I Watch You from Afar reached back to their artistic origins in stunning fashion and made an album that’s brilliant. Check out my top tracks off of the Album of the Week:
“Mullally” is a scorcher that exudes energy and vigor; seismic breakdowns occur at many instances for a powerful structure that shocks the ears. And So I Watch You from Afar has a knack for making a track seamlessly transition into another and “All I Need Is Space” is a great example: There’s some hypnotic guitar work happening from start to finish, and then it goes into the title track with no stopping. The longest song in the album is “Dying Giants,” and it has a build-up that crushes everything in its musical path.
And So I Watch You from Afar are currently touring Europe with a handful of notable shows coming up. These include Lido in Berlin on Nov 9, Festival La Ferme in Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, on Nov 18 and Academy 2 in Manchester on Nov 24. They’ll also be spending New Year’s Eve at Roisin Dubh in Galway, Ireland. Hopefully they come back to the States next year and rip it up at a venue in the New England area. While we all wait for that to happen, grab a copy of The Endless Shimmering and get electrified.
Web site: asiwyfa.com