Album review: Pelican – What We All Come to Need

I find it somewhat difficult to express how I really feel about Pelican. Instead, the four-piece instrumental band from Chicago prefers to constantly make its post-rock sound laced with metal collide with my senses, leaving me with no room to function.

What I really love about Pelican and their sludgy, sometimes droning, but always engaging music, is how it absolutely always cuts to the chase. There is no fooling around here, no need for an unnecessary and sometimes anti-climatic buildup technique other prominent bands inside the post-whatever genres make use of. And the band’s fourth album What We All Come to Need is one of the best examples of this yet.

“Glimmer” opens the album, grabs you, and makes a point that it isn’t going to let go of you. All four members of this band are simply incredibly competent in letting their instruments do the heavy speaking. Sibling rhythm section of Bryan Herweg on bass and Larry Herweg on drums keeps the music flowing consistently while the band’s dual guitarists Trevor de Brauw and Larent Schroeder-Lebec place biting and harsh riffs on top of it all.

“The Creeper” and “Ephemeral” stand out as two favorites of mine. They both have this uncanny hooking ability thanks to the quartet’s ability to work and feed off of each other. The rest of the album is simply more of the same.

Before all is said and done with the pulsating eight track album, diehard Pelican fans will be hearing something different on the eighth and final track. Fans might be surprised to hear vocals on “Final Breath”. It’s true, you aren’t hearing things. Ben Verellen of Harkonen provided vocals for what is the first Pelican song to ever feature vocals, and the experiment avoids disaster.

Not much more can be said for a band like Pelican. You’ll either love it or hate it. There’s no catch to their straightforward sound, but at the same time it ends up being satisfying and addicting. They might just be the most accessible band inside the many post-rock genres, and What We All Come to Need is more proof of that claim.

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