Constants - The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril (2006)


Radar Recordings is one of the many young record labels doing nothing more than trying to make a name for themselves. Starting from the ground up, and doing things right -- putting out great records. Now with this, their thirteenth, and arguably best release yet, I'm hoping people will start to take notice at the kind of records coming through them.

The Murder of Tom Fitzgerill, the new album from the Boston-based post-rock trio Constants, is chock full of epic crescendos and dazzling instrumentation. The three men in this band are all so well in tune with each other that the resulting songs couldn't possibly be more tight and fluid. With very few words, they're able to articulate their emotion through the subtlety of guitar tone or a single splash on the hi hats. They can get their point across through very subtle means, or just turn the amps to eleven and drown everything out in a wall of sound that reverberates long after it comes and passes.

As with many albums like this, the beauty isn't entirely in the more mellow moments, or that wall of sound, but in the orchestration of the two. The fluidity that I mentioned earlier. The hauntingly serene vocals of Will Benoit accompany just enough of the music to let you know he's there, but not so much as to underscore getting the point across in a strictly instrumental basis. The long, winding song structures are as entrancing as the melody from the chords that they're playing, and everything sounds so clear, so pristine. It's one thing to want a raw, heavily distorted, unpolished hardcore record, but with something like this, good recording quality is essential to how it's going to end up sounding.

The title track, "The Murder of Tom Fitzgerill," in all its grandeur, is a shining example of how one song can encompass a variety of moods and feelings. Starting out with the subtle repetition of rat-a-tat-tat on cymbals, the guitar delicately makes its way into the fold, until the base drum starts rhythmically pounding, the snares kick in, and before you know it, the towering riffs rise and fall to the beat of the harmonious undercurrent stirring this entire pot, all only to die back down again, quieter than before. Those haunting vocals come back in around the halfway point to bridge the gap between sections of the song, as it ever so unnoticeably picks back up again, this time crashing even louder than before.

There's beauty no matter where you look on this record, in between every swell and crest in these waves of sound rhythmically crashing in time, there's beauty behind every corner, just waiting to jump out and throw the entire sound into a frenzy, there's beauty in it all.