And So I Watch You from Afar

Gangs

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Between the release of And So I Watch You from Afar's 2008 debut and the recording of the follow-up, Gangs, the Portrush instrumental rockers toured the world, from Europe across Russia as far east as Japan, and all the way across to the West Coast of the U.S. The scale and scope of their undertaking -- and the effect it had upon their outlook -- is clear in the sound of the album, which is weightier and more abrasive than its predecessor. It's clear even in the song titles, from the awe-stricken "7 Billion People All Alive at Once" (a milestone finally achieved a week before the album's U.S. release) to the homeward-bound suite "Ghost Parlor KA-6 To..."/"...Samara to Belfast." The effects of endless touring are also clearly evident in the sonic approach of the album, which seems tailored for the stage with its stadium rock riffs and endless barrage of noise, best exemplified by the heavy metal assault of "Search:Party:Animal" and triumphant opener "Beautifuluniversemasterchampion." Unfortunately, by tailoring their sound to the stage, they sacrificed some of the beautiful flow and elegant dynamics that made their self-titled effort so effortlessly brilliant. Nevertheless, Gangs is a confident and accomplished second album from the Irish rockers.

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