Collapse Under the Empire - The Sirens Sound (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Collapse Under the Empire

The Sirens Sound (2010)

Sister Jack

Collapse Under the Empire's followup to their solid 2009 effort, Find a Place to Be Safe, The Sirens Sound should definitely please anyone who found likable traits in the band's last album.

For starters, Sound is a shade over a half-hour long. That's both 16 minutes shorter than the prior album (even if the track average is two minutes longer), and comparatively compact for a post-rock full-length altogether. That in itself is sort of an alluring trait. But what the band does here is largely similar to Safe, playing occasionally darker, slightly electronic-tinged post-rock in the key of the Mercury Program and perhaps a less dizzying Russian Circles. It's just better, though.

Opener (and the longest song here) and title track "The Sirens Sound" takes about five minutes for it to get interesting, but when it does, it's a bustling, enlivening bubble of wavering guitar lines and thumping low end. They actually do convey a sort of siren sound yawning across the sphere for the last few minutes, like a nervous signal for impending disaster to come during the oncoming tracks. But over the course of the last four cuts, there's really a pleasing mix of major-key brightness and fitful instrumental interplay.

"Grade Separation" swings through next, and gets to the point much quicker, stretching out a warm climax for much of its nearly five-minute duration (a "1-2 fuck you" in some post-rock circles). The piano and guitars entwine in a gentle play on "Violet Skies" yet remains involved, and ensures plenty of lumbering stop-start beats among it. Closer "A Different Complexion" fits in fuzzy beats, wood block strikes, and distinct dots of sound to carry it.

The German act come through on LP3 with a pleasurable sound and procession that improves on their sound in careful, detailed ways. Short advice: Check it out for some solid post-rock.

clips from every track