The last time I heard from Cecili::eyes, it was on the ‘here dead we lie’ LP, released all the way back in 2010. Four long years have passed since that wonderful record graced my desk and yet, as I predicted, it’s an album I’ve been more than happy to return to time and again thanks to the varied and intelligent music that lies within. A new album from the band, then, is reason enough to celebrate and on ‘Disappearance’, Cecilia::eyes return with seven more tracks of mysterious and engaging post rock.
Opening with the slow-burning, eight minute ‘Bellflowers’, Cecilia eyes gently set the scene with layer after layer of shimmering guitar. It’s a cinematic sound the band create, lurking somewhere between the soundtrack work of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and Sigur Ros, and it benefits from a rich, warm production job (courtesy of Joel Grignard) that allows the achingly beautiful music to emerge from the speakers with the subtle clarity it deserves. A band who prefer to do things in their own time frame or not at all, Cecilia::eyes build the track, gradually introducing new layers into the music until it becomes one huge pulsing canvas of sound that flashes with intense light and emotion. It’s a wonderful way to start the album and it sets the tone for the remainder of the record. ‘Lord Howe rise’ sees Xavier Waerenburgh producing some beautifully understated percussive work that is inventive yet unobtrusive as the rest of the band weave their web of sound around the listener. The track builds nicely to a towering crescendo mired in distortion, fading away only to build to an even grander conclusion before collapsing towards the screaming guitars of ‘Loreta’, a track which comes on like an amped-up Pink Floyd indulging in a collective ambient fantasy. Opening with an ominous rumble of sub-bass, ‘Swallow the key’ is a dark, slightly claustrophobic piece that throbs and creeps rather than soars and provides some much-needed shade to the earlier track’s light.
One of the album’s longest tracks, ‘default descent’ is a ten minute exploration of the psyche that takes in gently rippling guitars, drums that pound in the deep with increasing levels of agitation and soaring riffs that writhe and breathe as the band allow them increasingly free reign. ‘Isolated shower’ is another lengthy piece that opens with a crackly sample and which has the sort of somnambulant beat that powered early Mogwai remixes (think ‘kicking a dead pig’). It’s a mesmerising track that moves away from the sonically dense soundscapes of its predecessor towards lighter pastures and then extends its reach towards the sky as the band employ ever-expanding riffs augmented by expansive leads swathed in reverb. The album’s final track, ‘reign’, is a dense coda that sums up the album’s strengths and leaves the listener haunted by the memory of the wonderful melodies contained within.
In my previous review I noted that in the years after Mogwai emerged, post-rock became a crowded and rather bland genre. Cecilia::eyes avoid that pitfall by building huge, emotive soundscapes that utilise familiar genre tropes to tell a story that is all their own. The music is beautiful, powerful and engaging and the album never once tests the patience or feels overlong. Ultimately, ‘disappearance’ with its strong thematic device, dark, mysterious artwork and sublime musicianship is an absolute treat that needs to be heard to be believed. It may have taken the band four years, but the wait was worth it, ‘disappearance’ is a stunning record.
Take our advice and buy the limited edition LP version: