Caspian - Waking Season (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Waking Season (2012)

Triple Crown Records

Waking Season is a perfect title for the latest Caspian record. For just shy of an hour, these 10 tracks carry with them a warmth and energy that wasn't heard in the band's previous work. Sure, they don't always bring the noise, but Waking Season is the first post-rock record to make me think of spring, renewal, etc. While it doesn't defy all genre expectations, it does at least subvert them a little bit.

The title track comes off all triumphant like Joshua Tree-era U2. Gradually, a simple snare run adds tension to the track. Something is beginning. Yet for all the buildup, Caspian lets the energy fall by the wayside by jarringly shifting into the dreamier "Procellous." Yeah, that track gets to a point of noisy post-rock haze, almost stereotypically so, but in this context it's a random turn. Then again, because it's a little more atypical of the genre, it might have been the best move.

Indeed, post-rock as a genre can only move in so many directions, and most of them just turn into mid-tempo plodding. But Caspian imbue Waking Season with little moments that (almost) make me feel bad for comparing them to late period Mogwai. The band is less interested in shows of dexterity than in building atmosphere, perhaps best exemplified by album centerpiece "Gone in Bloom and Bough." At 10-and-a-half minutes, it's got plenty of breathing space; it doesn't even emerge as a full song until almost two minutes in. Even then, it's something to carry one off.

Which I suppose is also what holds the record back. If we're talking in the greater context of rock ‘n' roll, Waking Season sounds great in the background, but the details aren't especially moving. The record is a little loose compared to some post-rockers, but it doesn't groove enough to really stand out. That said, Waking Season has enough strengths to warrant some listens all the same, and when it truly comes alive, it's a wonder.