The debut album by Montreal's Destroy All Dreamers captures everything that is good about the plethora of French-Canadian post-rock while maintaining a discreet distance from the trappings of the genre. Sure the songs are entirely instrumental and are composed of slow, tense builds and majestic crescendos. Sure they feature heavy guitar interplay that borders on the symphonic. Sure the sonic tapestries are woven with the very same pathos and grandeur of the most majestic soundscapes of their compatriots. But somehow they manage to avoid cliché, if at times narrowly. The best aspect of this collection is its relative brevity; the longest track is around nine minutes, but the majority average around five or six, quite short by post-rock standards. Songs like "Zeta Reticuli Express" and "Victoire Sur le Soleil" distill the essence of their peers (and forbears) Godspeed You Black Emperor! into compact tinctures of that band's excesses. But "Orage" (French for "storm") features a stuttering delayed guitar figure more reminiscent of the Chameleons UK than any 21st century post-rockers, and "Sombrer Dans la Folie" ("To Sink in the Madness"!) has an upbeat lilt uncommon to most practitioners of this art. They have the ability to convey strong emotions through subtlety as well: "Facultatives Imaginaires, en Robe et en Éclats" evokes a parting of the clouds and a shimmering silver sky merely through measured snare brushes, restrained guitar passages, and an organ swell like the tranquil breathing of an opium dream state. Most tracks avoid the bombast of many of their like-minded Canucks (the aforementioned Godspeed, A Silver Mt. Zion, or Do Make Say Think) but this is still "serious" music as it avoids any hint of the avant-garde absurdisms of other contemporaries like Fly Pan Am, Feu Therese, or Shalabi Effect. This album makes a nice introduction to instrumental post rock, although it offers no surprises for anyone already well-versed in the genre. It also points auspiciously to huge potential in a band who do what they do extremely well and are poised on the verge of developing their own unique sound.
AllMusic Review by Brian Way