Below the Sea

Les Arbres Dépayseront Davantage

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Let's start with a paradox: Les Arbres Dépayseront Davantage (The Trees Will Provide a Stronger Change of Scenery) is much better, more mature, and more consistent than Below the Sea's debut CD (The Loss of Our Winter, 2001), but that is achieved at the cost of dropping some of the group's most distinctive elements to get closer to the post-rock sound of Godspeed You Black Emperor!. The strangest thing is that Below the Sea did not have to sell their soul to the devil to accomplish this -- all they needed was to grow tighter as a unit and rely more on composition than improvisation. "Let It Happen" opens the album with a short piece that sounds like the edited climax of a Godspeed You Black Emperor! track. It immediately launches the listener into a dreamy journey. The rhythm section of Mathieu Lévesque (bass) and Pascal Asselin (drums) sounds more assured and precise, which gets rid of the amateurish feel that marred the first album. Patrick Lacharité adds shoegazing guitars and foggy keyboards. Some of the writing shows some real talent: "Unsailed Customers" features clever rhythms and changes, while "La Conscience Est une Malédiction" offers an uplifting melody that breaks out of Godspeed You Black Emperor!'s repeat-to-death mold. Micro-Mega's Sylvain Chauveau makes a guest appearance on piano in "Accord Final." "Le Point de Vue Couleur" takes a different direction, focusing on long keyboard notes and berserk background electronics. This album is a huge step forward and a highly enjoyable slice of post-rock from what sounds like a professional group. Recommended.

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