Teller - 'Strive Recess Echo'
One of the many regrets I have at Nordic Music Review (it's a long list), is that we just haven't managed to cover anywhere near enough Post Rock music. Given that it's probably my favourite 'genre' I regard myself as entirely responsible for not delving deeper into the underground music scenes of each respective country, and I promise to do better in 2018. Thankfully we've been saved in 2017 thanks to a quite brilliant release by a band I just simply hadn't come across until last week, 'Teller' from Sweden, and their debut 'Strive Recess Echo'.
So this is a band that were formed about 7 years ago, and they released an EP back in 2013 - which I just simply haven't time to find yet, but look forward to digging out. Since then they've been 'squirelled' away for 4 years (probably in an isolated log cabin with only a mouse for company) working on their debut album, and oh my, has it been worth the time and effort. If you like your Post Rock music in a 'classic' style, with epic length instrumental tracks, searing guitars, huge crescendos of noise and some great shades of darkness and light, well we're delighted to offer you 'Teller' for your collection.
'Strive Recess Echo' opens with 'Baton Rouge', and unlike some post rock albums which can take up to 15 minutes before someone decides to 'go large', 'Teller' pick up the volume in under 2 minutes following the most subtle crescendo of guitar noise that develops the original theme and swirls around with an intense, emotional cloud of blissful sound to get utterly swept up in. However it is 'The Wary and Watchful' that catapults 'Teller' onto my list of favourite post rock bands (Crippled Black Pheonix et al) with an astonishingly good track, which opens with the simplest of musical themes and is then developed, rearranged and replayed with monumental force, and a track that captures everything that I love about this style of music, glorious snippets of tunes, huge contrasts dynamically and some searing full throttle sections that take those musical themes and belt them from the rooftops. The additions of cello and trumpet add an extra musical texture, and my only problem with the track is that it's only 10 minutes long.
'Floods' takes us straight into the realms of high intensity guitar noise, but opens itself up with a long trumpet solo which adds a melancholy wistful perspective, and the blast of trumpet above the guitars just under 5 minutes in is a real highlight - and reminds me briefly of fellow Swedish band Valsaland, even if their approach to Post Rock is somewhat different. 'Tell-tale White' is just 6 minutes long, and probably isn't able to deliver the level of musical themes we've seen in the previous 3 tracks, but I like the way the drum carries the track through with force, and there are some particularly great 'high velocity' sections to enjoy. 'Ridge and Furrow' is another track which builds on a simple guitar theme, but in general is more introspective and less frenetic until it builds to a thumping musical theme 4 minutes in - this is a track which has really grown on me in recent listens.
'Of, by and For' concludes the album, and even briefly introduces us to the concept of 'vocals' (45 minutes into the album) with a harmonised melody, and there are some beautiful delicate sections, and I'm so utterly lost in the music that for some reason I almost feel I'm alone in the mountains surveying the destruction of the natural world beneath me, and I have no idea why it's having that effect on me. It is a powerful and yet considered end to the album.
There are just so many things I like about this album, and with 55 minutes of material, I can barely do it justice through a 'brief' written review. Of course I will caveat everything by pointing out the obvious, that if you don't like instrumental Post Rock then you probably won't like 'Strive Recess Echo'. It is also true to say that this album is at its best when 'Teller' hit on a great musical theme as they do in 'The Wary and Watchful' and throw the kitchen sink at it - inevitably not all the tracks quite reach that level. But this is such a good album, and a huge credit to all those involved, from the band, the additional musicians and in the production, which to my non expert ears sounds fantastic throughout. If truth be told, I've been listening to this album for a week and I feel it will take hours more before I really get to appreciate all the musical ideas, swirls of sound and nuances of effects that are created throughout. 'Teller' have delivered a mighty album in 'Strive Recess Echo', and we really hope this will stimulate a huge surge in Post Rock features on our website.
Nordic Music Review 9/10