The other day, this song by a Finnish band called Magyar Posse came up on my iPod.
My reaction was not positive. This song exemplifies a songwriting strategy, common among post-rock bands, which I find completely infuriating. Namely: write one riff in an odd time signature and play it over a rotating harmonic foundation. Repeat ad infinitum.
When appropriate, your drummer may shift into double-time while riding on the crash cymbal. Also: VIOLIN.
I have heard so many post-rock bands write this song that I’ve lost count. I’m continually dumbfounded that anybody still thinks this method is original or interesting.
Shit, the techniques that are used for this composition aren’t even limited to post-rock anymore. Here’s an example of them used for something good:
What makes this song good, while the other one’s not? Well, for one thing, this is only a four-minute section of a song that’s over twelve minutes long in total. For another, it’s a much better performance. For a third, there’s an actual harmonic progression here that builds to climax, instead of just repetition that the band attempts to cheat into climax just by playing louder. For a fourth: it’s fucking Mastodon, fuck you.
You know another post-rock band that bugs me? Mono.
My god, it takes forever for anything to happen in this band’s music, and when it does it’s always the same Sonic-Youth-with-tons-of-echo junk. Personally, I greatly prefer what Boris did with their empty swimming pool:
I don’t want to give you the impression that I’m partial to metal versions of post-rock, so here’s Pelican demonstrating why even bands that play mostly slow music still need a decent drummer:
And here’s the Mercury Program, who are handicapped by a shittier band name and song title, illustrating the difference it makes:
And of course, the poster children for dull post-rock are Explosions in the Sky:
OK, Maserati, I set ’em up for ya- KNOCK THAT SHIT DOWN