Friday, 17 October 2008

Season - Avatar

Season - Avatar

An excellant post rock album from an Australian band which sadly no longer excists. However when they disbanded they kindly put their stuff up for free on the record companies web site.
Here is a review from 'Splendid Magazine'
The strings that open Avatar are part of an unsettling instrumental opus that serves as a perfect Cure-like introduction to this dark and moody album. Like Scotland's Mogwai, this Melbourne, Australia group creates atonal, droning songs that ebb and flow with emotion and power. Not since my first experience with Austin's Explosions in the Sky have I been so blown away by the talent of a relatively unknown band. Once again my faith in music, which can wane from time to time, has been fully restored.

Avatar is the perfect prescription for dark nights and stark winters. Guitars wail one moment, then almost whisper the next, and each song flows beautifully into its successor. Each musician -- guitarist/keyboardist James McGauran, bassist/keyboardist David Charles and drummer/bassist Bart Kowalski -- knows how to create the right mood for the moment, and their songs reflect a certain smugness, which at the same time projects an innocent DIY charm. It's almost as if the band doesn't quite know how good it is.

"God Mode", "Give Up The Ghost" and "Into The Light" are Avatar's best tracks, clocking in at more than 35 minutes collectively; the towering "Into The Light" is the best of the bunch. And while "Throw Me To The Sky" and "Sea Level" hover near the eight-minute mark themselves, neither song packs quite the punch of their longer siblings. Guest vocalist Karen Vogt makes an appearance on "Throw Me...", her voice almost otherworldly in its simplicity. Softly sung and heavily effected, her vocals present an interesting contrast to Avatar's other, entirely instrumental songs.

A number of bands are making similar music -- Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tortoise, Do Make Say Think, and the aforementioned Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky are among Season's best-known peers. But whereas those acts' albums often sound heavily produced, Season's music is a bit rougher, which works in their favor. Perhaps that's why Avatar is one of the best albums I've heard this year.-- David A. Cobb


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