VANLOCK- ‘Tiny Squares’

Vanlock aren’t really newcomers- the French outfit feature former members of Tölva in their ranks- but this is still a strikingly accomplished debut.  ‘Tiny Squares’ is, in fact, huge. It starts with what sounds like a synth swell or maybe a bowed guitar (or maybe both) but really what it brings to mind is storm clouds, empty stretches of black volcanic sand, and attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. It’s truly cinematic stuff. A slow marching drum beat arrives too soon and makes things feel a little more ordinary but there’s no quiet-loud dynamic or familiar crescendo here, just hypnotic menace. If ‘Boarded Up’ then does err a little too close to formula despite some interesting Deftonesian textures, the 10-minute ‘Anomia’ delivers. Thanks to clever pacing and excellent production it never drags, seeming to mutate into subtly new forms before fading away. Vanlock play post-rock with power, poise, and invention then. Now, if only we could do something about that band name.

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