This Will Destroy You - This Will Destroy You (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

This Will Destroy You

This Will Destroy You (2008)

Magic Bullet

Every so often, another band comes along whose hype is so booming you'd think they're brushing the lips of the post-rock Christ. One of the newest such acts, This Will Destroy You, entered the fray after the release of their debut, Young Mountain, awoke a slumbering community through their swelling, affected crescendos, sometimes punctuated by delicate electronics. Clearly operating under the influence of now-peers like Explosions in the Sky and 65daysofstatic, their sounds even found their way into backing a Pentagon briefing last year. Needless to say, the public's anticipation for the followup was huge.

Maybe too huge.

What the instrumental act's self-titled effort lacks is the element that proved vital for Young Mountain: confrontation. While the band certainly deserve recognition for noticeably eschewing their similarities to Explosions (a congruency all too often blatant on Mountain), their reconditioned approach to synthesizing epic detonations involves zeniths that are lengthier and more spread out, contrasted to the more powerful, concentrated bursts of Mountain. Even then, only around half of This Will Destroy You actually involves the band sculpting some sort of upward or downward swing.

When they reach their intended sonic peaks in "A Three-Legged Workhorse" (an opener that immediately pulls the listener in with a balmy, soon-to-be wonted pattern), "Burial on the Presidio Banks," "Threads" and the 11-minute "The Mighty Rio Grande," they're fairly breathless compositions and all maintain a particular warmth and comfort. "Rio Grande" and "Banks" even use their allotted times to definitively swell and crash twice apiece. However, all these bangs are mere flare-ups compared to the atomic booms of Mountain, which managed to exhibit a refreshing brevity in such releases.

This Will Destroy You temper the rest of the album with a restrained, ambient nature that keeps a loose grip on the listener. "Villa del Refugio" saunters by like a minimal Mogwai, subtle, orchestral guitars bubbling below the surface and the staccato blip of programming; a breathy, passionately melancholic guitar lead speaks for the vocals in "They Move on Tracks of Never-Ending Light."

The band is considerably more liberal with application of the electronics as well, but it's a very confident usage. Whether it's on a climactic number like "Workhorse," the guitar-driven "Light" or an atmospheric exercise like "Refugio," it becomes a part of the song rather than an obvious additive. Either way, it strengthens the buildup of songs that fall into the former category and perfectly integrates itself into the medium of the latter. With the more airy tracks, it assists in lending them a compelling characteristic that might otherwise be sapped by the lack of building and breaking.

It's interesting that This Will Destroy You ultimately chose to write an album that's less indicative of their name, but it's also turned out to be a slight disappointment. Nonetheless, This Will Destroy You is an often engaging and occasionally stunning listen that marks a recognizable growth despite the failure to stylistically self-eclipse.

A Three-Legged Workhorse Threads
Burial on the Presidio Banks