Adam Walters (guitar), Sam Mason (guitar), Zack Reynolds (guitar), Matt Dembicky (bass) and Kenneth Wong (drums) are the members of the post-rock band Behind Blind Eyes. The band recorded their LP In the Shadow of a Tree in a dorm room and the result is quite better than one might expect. The guitars sound full while the bass has a distinct, warm sound. If there was one thing that needed some attention it was the drums. Simply said I think the snare and bass drum were too low in the mix. Even that point is arguable but I would have loved to have been able to feel the bass drum.
Up first is the “Ataraxy” which contains some staples of post-rock but also has a couple of experimental moments that were welcome surprises. The beginning of the song doesn't sound far from bands like Mogwai or Explosions In The Sky. I was happy to hear they avoided the typical cliché of going grandiose and loud during the middle of the song. Instead the band relies on guitars that follow each other and rumbling toms. The band occasionally falls out of the pocket but nothing too glaring. Towards the end they go rather epic but at least they were using flange effects, which helped it sound unique.
One of the highlights is “My Best Friend.” There is a levity in the song which is pleasant. It’s a comforting, warm vibe and right after the three-minute mark the song goes in a number of interesting directions. I loved the restraint the band displayed on this track.
“Ghost Town” is the most original sounding song of the seven and contains exceptional guitar work. The guitar picking is excellent and drives the song. As the song progresses it unfolds with seamless transitions that contains emotional weight. Take for instance the guitar work around the five-minute mark.
“In the Shadow of a Tree” is another success and is a very atmospheric song that contains a lot of reverb while “Breaking Silence” is the heaviest the band gets. Unfortunately, I could barely make out a snare drum or kick drum. The eleven-minute closer has a more standard serene, melancholy vibe but nonetheless has some beautiful moments.
Behind Blind Eyes seems consciously trying to avoid sounding like just another post-rock band, which I have to admire. I don’t think they are quite there yet but In the Shadow of a Tree builds a solid foundation.
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