Gangs Review

And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs
And So I Watch You From Afar
Sargent House / Richter Collective 2011

By Donkeremaan


Hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland, this bunch slapped together a record that has me falling to my knees in awe. Admittedly, I am running behind hopelessly, because this is my first encounter with And So I Watch You From Afar, but it’s one that I won’t forget easily. The band is treading on the paths of post- and mathrock, barely shedding a word doing so. And it all makes complete sense from start to finish.

On social media, I said something like: ‘Gangs contains some riffs that make me belly-itchingly happy’ and that feeling already startles me when absorbing “Gang (Starting Never Stopping)”. Simplicity still rules supreme. Up next is a sizeable portion of ADD rock that has any unsuspecting human being run for his life. It’s all over the place akin to Lighting Bolt after an hour of taking cheap music lessons. And seeing as I’m dropping names anyway: 65daysofstatic with a dash of Battles. There, done. Incidentally, the neurotic need for chaos is finely balanced. “7 Billion People All Alive At Once” is a breather with its melodic ‘pa pa, pa pa, pa pa, pa pa, pa pa, pa pa, pa pa, pa da da da’ sing-along. “Think:Breathe:Destroy” reactivates the belly-itching hyperactivity mode.

Then: the breaking point.

The final 18 minutes of the album present a soothing and adventurous after-party of a mental and hectic celebratory event. In other words: it actually has significant added value. Prog, folk, postrock (Sickoakes spring to mind), even a bit of funk. And some of those riffs, of course! You know, those with the belly and such. Three minutes into “Homes - …Samara To Belfast” and everything falls into place. The puzzle is perfect, no need to amend. Or perhaps a shiny layer on top. That’d be excellent…

(This review was originally published in Dutch on File Under.)

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