Boston, Massachusetts band Caspian have been building a substantial body of work, and a passionate and devoted following, since the release of their debut EP 'You Are The Conductor', in 2005. 'Dust And Disquiet', the band's fourth full-length album, marks a departure, of sorts, for the increasingly ambitious quartet.
"This record was the product of some substantial soul searching, a lot of hard work, and the desire to reclaim for ourselves what it is we all still love about music, both as individuals and as a collective unit", they say, which could mean really very little, were it not backed up by some of the most startling and diverse compositions of the band's output to date.
'Dust And Disquiet' takes its time to reach its stride. Opener 'Separation No. 2' is a restrained beginning and is followed by 'Rioseco', which in the manner of much of what has made Caspian great, builds and builds, before the glorious release which comes at the apex of its crescendo.
Caspian are a band who crescendo unlike anyone else. They combine intricate and lovingly constructed melody with the ability to be punishingly loud. These days, however, rather than being loud for the sake of it, these gorgeous passages of visceral power exist, it seems, solely to fulfil the needs of the song and its orchestration. 'Arcs Of Command', having been tense for three minutes and nine seconds, concludes with several minutes of barely controlled violence. It is wondrous.
'Echo And Abyss' is another brilliant crescendo featuring (hold on a second... are they not an instrumental band?) both screamed and clean vocals, but where things really take a turn for the interesting is on the album's undoubted centrepiece, 'Run Dry', an orchestral folk song par excellence. On a Caspian album.
The rest of the record is peppered with more treats. 'Sad Heart Of Mine' twinkles and shimmers its way towards a cinematic climax. 'Darkfield' perfect, once again, the light and dark, loud and quiet dynamic shifts the band seem able to muster at will, while the closing title track is a suitably epic coda to a record which firmly establishes Caspian once again as genre-defying bastions of greatness.
These guys can do anything any other band can do, and do it better than them. This is perhaps what is most exciting about 'Dust And Disquiet', and about Caspian in general. They have a long and hard-won reputation for a boundless and ever-changing vision. What's certain is that, wherever they go, it will almost certainly be worth listening to.
Words: Haydon Spenceley
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