PELICAN- The Cliff

‘The Cliff’ is not an easy sell. While any new Pelican release is cause for some celebration, this EP is made up of three different versions of a deep cut from the Chicago band’s 2013 album, ‘Forever Becoming’, and a song left off that record due to time constraints. It takes about 20 seconds to realise why it’s worth an investment though. 

The opening rework marks the first time in six years- and only the second time in their entire career- that Pelican has recorded a song with vocals. And while it might sound like post-rock sacrilege, erstwhile Shiner frontman Allen Epley’s forlorn tones actually elevate the piece. He twists new melodies around its robust verses, creates a catchy chorus from not much at all, and still manages to let the music do most of the talking. 

Then Justin Broadrick’s remix might be worth the price of admission alone. As is his wonderful way, he slows the pace, increases the industrial hum, and accentuates every bass tone until it feels like someone is drilling up through your floor. The Palms remix uses Epley’s voice, intense percussion, and swirling ambience to create something brand new, and instead of any other new combination ‘The Wait’ split’s Pelican’s sound down the middle. It’s part grungy quiet, part post-metal loud.

It might be truly essential for Pelican completists only but, despite initial appearances, ‘The Cliff’ is much more than a curio. Rock solid stuff.

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