The Appleseed Cast

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    4/5

    It’s hard to say whether Kansan rock ‘n’ rollers the Appleseed Cast were they inspired by Sagarmatha, Amsterdam ‘mdash; kingdom of high-quality cannabis ‘mdash; or Sagarmatha, Mount Everest ‘mdash; the Nepalese name for highest peak in the world ‘mdash; when naming their latest LP. Either way, the definitively post-rock album smokes up the sky, graduating the band from stale emo stylings to soaring instrumental highs. Taking cues from their atmospheric colleagues, Sagarmatha rises above verse-chorus pairings to mist through staggering vocals and light-struck guitars and find a solid face in experimental rock.

    On 1999’s Mare Vitalis, the boys captured the ocean ‘mdash; now, they’ve brought home the rainbow. The trip begins in moody, glorious sonic shafts on ‘As The Little Things Go,’ an 8:15 tribute to California soul. Filled with driving oceanic drafts and sweeping Santa Anas, its silvery Coldplay echoes explode midway into epic battlefield beats, soft Killers whispers, grinding rock feedback and a spine-tingling fade for proper release. The boys almost get drunk on it, raising the resurrected guitar on ‘The Road West’ high over quavering strings and soul-pulling drums. This kind of heaviness is a new acquaintance to the Cast. They’re sweeped in foglike thickness, then broken with sudden floating interruptions of sunlit keys. ‘Raise The Sails’ then opens the sky for good, clashing screams from the drumset with easy, deep-throated chords.

    Though they sometimes face the post-rock noise problem ‘mdash; tracks melting into tedium ‘mdash; that plagues L.A. acts like El Ten Eleven and Beware of Safety on the same heartbeat drums, holy trembling guitar and 3D hallucinations (any variations mostly derived from mainstream metal, dance or pop tricks), the Appleseed Cast go beyond beautiful, exposing the soil beneath the snow and heralding a new spring.

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