A Day in Black and White

My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys

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Arlo Guthrie once said something like this: if one person does something, he's a nut, but if three people do it, it's a conspiracy, and if 50 people do it, it's a movement. It's not quite at movement level yet, but a lot of bands have started to combine the intense directness of emo with the cool, cerebral sophistication of post-rock to make it at least a conspiracy. Bands like Minus the Bear and the City of Caterpillar have pioneered the seemingly incongruous combination, but the debut album by A Day in Black and White makes it clear that the style has legs. Weaving influences as disparate as Fugazi and Converge on the one hand and Slint and Godspeed You Black Emperor! on the other, these five lengthy songs build very slowly, racheting up a steadily increasing tension through long instrumental passages that finally, inevitably explode in a climax of hardcore-style screaming and pummeling guitar riffs. The 11-plus minute closer, "The Illusion of the End," takes things even further, creating a strangely calm but undeniably tense soundscape that recalls some of Sigur Rós' instrumental epics. Has the term "post-emo" been coined yet?

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