November 08, 2003

Emery Reel "For And Acted Upon Through Diversions"

I have to admit that Emery Reelís debut album, ÖFor and Acted Upon Through Diversions, leaves me breathless. How anyone can make a record thatís so epic and larger-than-life and do so without sounding cold and distant is beyond me, but this band from Nashville, Tennessee has done so, and theyíve done it quite wonderfully. Sure, if youíre into post-rock, youíve probably heard this style of music before, and it would be easy to bring up bands such as Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Sigur Ros, or maybe even Do Make Say Think, but that wouldnít be right.

Unlike those bands, Emery Reel doesnít seem to be caught up in the pretense of being ëcomplicated.í Yes, this is very detail-oriented music; itís certainly obvious that they have spent a lot of time working on their record, too. Sure, itís quite a bold gambit to fill your albums with ten-minute epics, but when you mix and match sounds as good as they do, then you really donít notice the time. ìA New Beginningî is a great example of this. The song starts off slow and calm, then gets noisy--real noisy. Then it gets quiet again. Then it gets loud again. Repeat, as directed-and they do. And it sounds really, really good.

Luckily, the album only gets better.

From that early high point, they offer a seamless collection of melodies that change so easily and so effortlessly that song titles really are moot; if you donít pay attention to the track listing, youíd be convinced that the album contains more than seven tracks. From loud, pounding drums to the quiet twinkle of piano and the soft strumming of guitars, they really make it hard to keep your mind on such trivial things as life on earth. Their sound is heavenly, lush and dreamlike; one listen is quite enough to set your mind off on a flight into the air and down into your soul. Think Iím lying? Listen to the closing epic ìUneasy, The Crossing Guard.î If you can make it through the fourteen-plus minutes of it remaining completely alert and, um, sober, then youíve got an admirable constitution.

Iíd be half-tempted to wonder if Emery Reel simply made a bunch of records and left them unreleased, opting to debut with their third or fourth album, because itís so rare that debuts are this good. Apparently thatís not the case, which, in my mind, is the crown jewel for Emery Reel-the promise that ÖFor and Acted Upon Through Diversions is the opening salvo for a wonderful band just starting out on its journey. A fine, awesome record from a band (and record label) who have quite clearly impressed me.

--Joseph Kyle

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