Taking their most excellent name from a Japanese comic book monster, Chapel Hill-based trio Fin Fang Foom mostly stick to the mellower and more conceptual end of post-rock; they're more interested in intriguing instrumental textures than pulverizing riffs. (Based on their sound, one would guess that Slint's Spiderland is probably their most-played album, collectively.) Their second album, With the Gift Comes the Curse, is a unified statement, its first five or six songs have the epic scope of Godspeed You Black Emperor! or Sigur Rós: when listened to as a whole, instrumental elements like the liquid-toned piano and choppy guitar riffs repeat and mutate throughout the first two-thirds of the album, but the songs retain enough individual identity that when listened to separately, they don't sound like choppily edited pieces of a larger whole. The surprisingly delicate "N.C. Blackout" closes the album on a placid but oddly tense and anxious note, jangled by Michael Tripplet's knife-edge guitars. It's an appropriately unsettled end for an album that mixes elements of genuine beauty with some more challenging outbursts. Originally released in late 2003, the album was reissued in March 2005 because the band lost nearly the entirety of 2004 when Tripplet became gravely ill with a strain of meningitis.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason