Self-Evident – Down Here

Down Here

Self-evident twist the normally cold “post-rock” sound, adding big washes of effusive affect to deepen the listening experience. This is not to say that they ever compromise musical accuracy, as they seem to pride themselves on never performing a song that they do not have complete mastery over. Sometimes this tightness seems pointless or even a little oppressive, but generally they are able to blend perfectionist musicianship with engrossing moods (generally through warmth of vocals).

Perhaps due to an alternate tuning, the guitar seems to stay on one or two chords throughout “Down Here,” a repetition which becomes distracting after more than a few minutes have passed. Nonetheless, the melodic bass lines help make the effect more hypnotic than annoying, and the drums move the song onwards like a well-oiled machine. Each instrument sounds completely different, but the textures that they create together establish a unified whole that is much more appealing than any of the individual sounds on their own. The subtext of the Goonies [the inspiration for the song, apparently – think of the moment with the characters beneath the well] is funny, but not really tangible in the piece, especially considering the lack of irony in the vocal delivery. With the arpeggios chiming away, the music brings to mind Boa’s “Duvet” sans Jasmine Rodger’s vocal charms. The Tortoise comparisons are also unavoidable – especially the way that the drums and bass serve as the focal point over which everything else brings texture – and the way that tension is built up with layer after layer of repetition. Self-Evident tend to utilize more rapid lines and sometimes more complex rhythmic patterns than Tortoise dabbles with, though, and they avoid the almost imperceptible yawn-inducing dynamics that overrun many of the latter’s releases. “Down Here” also quotes from Pearl Jam’s Ten at one point near the middle when the song begins to open up before compressing again into jittery palm-muting.

For each person that would want Self-Evident to keep things short (like me), there are plenty who will appreciate the extended unfolding of long compositions like “Down Here.” There are few people, however, that will be moved to stop listening altogether. If you get a chance to see them live, do so as they are much more impressive (much like Sweep the Leg Johnny) on stage than on disc. They have some streaming audio from their concerts available on their web page if you want to confirm this independently.