ERAAS

ERAAS

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This may be ERAAS' debut album, but Robert Toher and Austin Stawiarz had been making dark, evocative music for years with the post-rock band Apse before moody, sinister sounds became fashionable again in the indie world during the late 2000s and early 2010s. While this latest incarnation of the duo's music fits into that revival pretty well, they use enough of what they learned with Apse to make them more complex, and unexpected, than some of their contemporaries. ERAAS' song titles distill dread and mysticism into their most symbolic representations, but that may be the simplest thing about the duo's music. Even on interludes such as "Black House" and "Moon," their post-rock background gives their sound a majestic expanse that's as open-ended as it is massive. Along with drawing on their past, ERAAS also recall like-minded artists devoted to conveying darkness in their music in less than obvious ways: the atmosphere of general dread and loping percussion recall Liars in their They Were Wrong, So We Drowned and Drum's Not Dead days, and some of the eerie frost of the Knife and Fever Ray can be heard as well. "Ghost"'s stark whispers suggest a less stylized Soft Moon (it's no wonder the bands were tourmates around the time of ERAAS' release), while "Skinning" calls to mind a pagan Radiohead in the way the band layers ominous piano chords with a sweeping guitar melody and ritualistic chanting. These similarities are more touchstones than slavish imitations, however, and ERAAS distinguish themselves most strikingly on surprisingly pretty songs like "At Heart" and "Fang," where the androgynous, reverb-drenched vocals border on inhuman and electronic pulses add a spectral sleekness and danceability. There's something uniquely aloof and restrained about ERAAS, both in the way they use empty space and the way that songs like "A Presence" and "Briar Path" circle like packs of wolves around their prey but end before they can lunge in for the kill; Toher and Stawiarz don't fully unleash until "Trinity"'s chords of doom bring the album to a satisfying close. While the duo might still be learning how to balance all the things they can do well into a cohesive whole, ERAAS' whispers and shadows offer a different and welcome take on dark sounds.

blue highlight denotes track pick