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Esmerine | If Only A Sweet Surrender To The Nights To Come Be True (Resonant)
Featuring two members of Montreal's post-rock posse Godspeed You Black Emperor! ?? who also contribute to A Silver Mount Zion and Set Fire To Flames ?? Esmerine re-energise a distinctive sound that has become diluted by too many side-projects endlessly raking over too few ideas. By removing all traces of guitar from their music, Bruce Cawdron and Beckie Foon are left with only drums, cello and marimba to contend with. Yet in stripping their options to a bare minimum, they've ?? at least partially, if not always completely ?? stumbled across some of the elements that made their scene so enticing in the first place. Gone are the crashing, crushing finales. Forgotten also are the spoken word segments predicting an end to the world. Abandoned are words entirely in fact.
Concentrating instead on the funeral end of GYBE!'s spectrum, Esmerine veer far closer to classical than rock, with several of these eight windswept tracks lasting over the ten minute mark. A large portion of the time, this music is extremely quiet, with a resigned grace that only twice is disturbed from its mournful slumber. 'Where There Is No Love, There Is No Justice' rattles with more bruising intentions, as does epic closer 'The Marvellous Engines Of Resistance', yet at all other times, this is eerily intriguing, like unidentified noises outside your bedroom window in the dead of night. The cover artwork ?? depicting waves crashing against a disused, decaying pier ?? perfectly previews what lies within. You're never totally sure what's keeping you here, yet it's tough to prise yourself away.

Ian Fletcher
CWAS #12 - Summer 2003