Cue – Bring Back My Love

Cue
Bring Back My Love

Like fellow Texans Explosions in the Sky, Cue follows in the footsteps of Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Mogwai, creating dynamic, brooding, post-rock instrumentals. While Cue’s songs tend to emulate the formula of soft, slow, guitar-based tunes that build into mountains of coordinated sonic assault, the band has modified the formula by including diverse tempo changes and additional instruments like piano, glockenspiel, and violin.

The four members of Cue break slightly from their brethren post-rockers with piano and violin interludes that border on classical, where the up-front violins produce a melancholic aura ripe with emotion. The slow starts are calming, and the transitions to the more frantic passages are flawless, usually instigated by Jason Brister’s lively drumming and often including additional percussion. The turbulent mix of guitars, bass, keyboards, and violins rarely attain overpowering proportions but mostly weave fervent tales with creative interplay that approximates prog-rock rather than post-rock.

The album is assembled nicely for your listening pleasure with short, exquisite, tranquil pieces acting as bookends to open and close the disc and one in the middle as an intermission. Scattered in between are well-orchestrated songs that demonstrate Clarke Dominick’s and Colin Swietek’s ability to combine guitars, bass, and keyboards into coordinated crescendos that are filled with raw power but are not overwhelming. But it is Stacy Mashbane’s violin that give these tunes their poignancy. Songs like “The Sun Has Risen Twice Today,” “Every Wing All at Once,” “The End of the Rule of Nostalgia,” and the title track diverge from the post-rock convention of soft-loud-soft and extend the boundaries by including more indie-like guitar strumming, classical arrangements, and chilling violin that rises not to a mountain of sonic assault but a plateau of somber space-rock. The production is crisp throughout, keeping the instruments balanced, with the exception of “Handful Savants” and “Thulsa Doom,” where the blistering guitar fuzz pushes Meshbane’s violin work too deep in the clamor instead of out front where it should be.

Since they don’t write lyrics, except for a short, subdued chorus of “Bring back my love” on the closing track, Cue should show a little more creativity with song titles. Having three of 11 tracks untitled and borrowing another from a book begs an explanation; although the sleeve design, artwork, and track layout are very imaginative and make a neat package.

Like a welcome thundershower brings a cool stiff breeze after a hot, humid summer afternoon, Cue offers up a near-perfect post-rock storm.