Flies Are Spies From Hell - Red Eyes Unravelling

Richard Wink 19/01/2010

Rating: 4/5

Instrumental post-rock tends to have this annoying habit of drifting into the dubious territory of the emotionally moving soundtrack. Where compositions should almost imperatively should fit alongside dramatic images. When Mogwai soundtracked that film about Zinedine Zidane I kinda felt that it was an admission that without a vocalist their music needed that extra something to fill the problematic void, providing something else for the listener to focus on. Because in a time where our attention spans seem to be rapidly decreasing, listeners just might get bored when there isn't a voice cooing “Ga Ga ooh La La”.

That being said there has been an upsurge in the quality of engaging post-rock in the noughties, with a new breed of bands putting out uncompromising, and pertinently engrossing music. Bands such as Maybeshewill and Russian Circles are building upon the legacy established by influential post-rock labels such as Constellation Records.

Flies Are Spies From Hell stand out from the sardine tin primarily because they are strongly piano led, this provides a link to the classical that combines well with the crunchy contemporary fret tomfoolery. For a debut - the fruits of frustrating tours and long hours in the practice room Red Eyes Unravelling is a polished effort. and surprisingly optimistic. Often post-rock can be moody and bitter, the sound of a rat traipsing along a side street drainpipe as a bum pisses up the wall; despite the echoing blows of thunder of lightning which cause the bum to shudder and jump somehow he is able to maintain not only the trajectory of his urine stream, but the steady drip drop flow.

So when the serene tinkling of the ivories combines with the steady rhythmic gallop of a thousand thoroughbred stallions in the opening minute of Swimming in Streets you know there is something beautiful around the corner, and that comes in the form of Glass Light Shatters a wondrous few minutes which pause under clear skies in tranquil contemplation. The final track of the album Great Deadener is understandably epic; the listener by now is mesmerized as sombre hooks tingle the back of your spine, as feather light percussion trickle along leaving indelible deer footprints in the snow.

The music paints pictures, no visual aids are required.