Post-rock might be the easiest genre for DIY musicians to enter at the moment; there are little to no vocals, plenty of room for overdubbing and the instrumentals need not be astounding so long as they are layered. Throw in a synth for atmosphere and it’s conceivable for one person to make a full album in her or his bedroom, which describes to a T UK-based Deathstar Convertible.
Never terrible, but also not memorable, Deathstar Convertible’s debut Shadows Smile sits right in the middle for me—more vibrant than Hammock, but lacking the guitar work and complexity to compare with This Will Destroy You or God is an Astronaut.
The problem here is the album’s most interesting moments endure long separations punctuated by vast, synth chasms; each song can be a chore if you can’t palate much computerized keyboard. I’m indifferent. When the album shines, it glimmers. “Tricks the Gods Play on Men” harkens to early era Circa Survive with its exploding, effects-laden guitar and thundering bass. This was the last song written that displays Deathstar Convertible at its most energetic and enthralling, making it the ideal jumping-off-point for the next release.
The laser-show synth in “My (New) Little Secret” is worth the unvaried passages plaguing the two songs following and preceding. Arpeggiated guitar anchors “Lost In Neon” but overstays its welcome after the first measure and like its sister “Stars Gather, Slowly Merge” plods to a conclusion while yoking appeal to a generic crescendo.
"Bring All Souls MIght" is a clear highlight the showcases some potential and innate talent. It start off sounding more like a Menomena song before getting infused with layers of white noise. The crushing midsection of closer “Bring All Souls Might” ends the album at or near its high-water mark making the lesser tracks all the more forgettable. Regardless of the imperfections, batting .500 on a debut is impressive for a one-man show.
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