At one point in history the respective paths carved by musical innovators such as Mozart, Chuck Berry and Run DMC were all brilliant and innovative. But over time, classic becomes cliché. As a genre ages, it becomes increasingly difficult for those artists holding the reins to remain innovative. Hell, even the seemingly evergreen post-hardcore intensity of bands like Fugazi and Big Black wore out over time as decades of like-minded acts sustained a similar fusion of noisy guitar with funky rhythms and confrontational vocals. So needless to say, even a genre like post-rock, once a stylistic qualifier so obscure that most bands branded with the label refused to acknowledge its legitimacy, eventually becomes mundane in some ways.
This is not to say that the genre has died. Rather, it has just become more than simply a game of innovation and intrigue. And, while not the most ground-breaking post-rock album I’ve heard, The Drift’s Blue Hour is one of the more refreshing in recent years. Consisting of nine songs that beckon to be listened to in a proper sequence, the album reads as an hour-long movement, akin to that of a great classical work. Fully instrumental, Blue Hour is at times relaxing, but at other times reaches a climax that feels as if it may never cease. It’s noisy, it’s funky, it’s thoughtful, but most of all (and especially important at this point in the genre’s progression), it’s fun.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of factors that could have made this album dull. The loss of the band’s horn/electronics guru, Jeff Jacobs (R.I.P.), not only took a comrade and fellow musician out of The Drift’s mix, but removed two elements that made the band stand out a bit among an overcrowded field. However, in Jacobs’ absence, The Drift trucks on, just as driving and artful as ever. All in all, Blue Hour is worth a listen. Steering the listener to dance as much as it causes him to reflect, The Drift pulls off an album that continues to explore the depths of the ever-changing face of post-rock.
Mogwai – Rock Action
Herbie Hancock – Man-Child
Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship
Stream: The Drift – “Horizon”