This Will Destroy You
Suicide Squeeze Records
15 September 2014
by Ruth Booth
Imagine you’ve only ever commuted to a single song, selected by some dictatorial public transport commission. One day, you get on the bus – and nothing. No sound. Confused, you take your seat in silence. Then someone coughs, and your senses pop. Small things are thrown into relief – the engine stutters rabid complaints, there’s a tart stink of old fish’n’chips somewhere – and was there always that beech tree on the corner of X and Y? The ordinary has become extraordinary. Listening to Another Language, the new album from This Will Destroy You, is something like this.
Trading in instrumental post-rock a la Caspian and Explosions In The Sky, TWDY are still capable of great subtlety in their sonic landscapes three albums in. This isn’t just background wash. Each song on Another Language has a distinct personality, neatly summed-up in those snappy titles – ‘God’s Teeth’ (a heavenly clarion call, with a nasty bite at the end), ‘The Puritan’ (echoes of ‘God’s Teeth’, with woodwind-like melodic lines), ‘Serpent Mound’ (feedback thrumming with energy, guitar stuttering with life), and so on. They’re more archetypes, then – sonic tarot cards, in a way, to be interpreted in accordance with the mood or situation.
At the same time, those song titles feel more like descriptors than the names of what they’re trying to convey, in an attempt to grasp after meaning. Throughout the record, it feels like they’re expressing something we don’t have the words for. Trying would be like describing wine as tasting of chocolate or leather – these songs are analogues of psychological states, where words won’t do. Another Language, by contrast, proves a startlingly accurate title.
This album is a lesson in awareness of emotional subtlety, a mood-enhancer in that sense of the phrase. Another Language can be powerful and strident and colouring, and at the same time, subtle and complimentary and filtering – a woolly summation for such a focussed sound.
That’s not always to its advantage. While Another Language can be all things to all men, it can be a tricky bastard if you’re not paying attention. I kept trying to put on other songs at the same time, forgetting this was already playing. Yet, when it was off, all seemed quiet and a little flat, like gingerbread men with no ginger in them. Strange how some albums seem to be such a tiny part of your day, but you sure as hell miss ‘em when they’re gone.
Sounds Like: Rediscovering the world
Standout Tracks: Invitation, Serpent Mound, New Topia