Snowbeast – Framed EP

Framed EP

Thanks to the success of bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, and Sigur Rós, it seems that listeners anxiously sit back and anticipate the next moment in music to merit the use of the term “post-rock,” like it’s some sort of dignified qualifier that means instant talent and infinite allure from a band. “The new x album is, like, totally awesome! It so has elements of post-rock in it!” Oftentimes this over-used, far-too-broad phrase is forced to act as a redeemer when, in reality, the music is meandering and tedious, not to mention not deserving the showers of praise a sheepish audience will surely meet it with.

Despite flocks of admirers pushing the “post-rock” terminology to irritating levels, it would be unfair to go ahead and dismiss any band that may find itself under the genre’s controversial stylistic umbrella, even if they do wear the label like a badge of pride. Two such bands are Always the Runner and Snowbeast.

Together, the two have packed 30 minutes of gentle atmosphere onto one split EP. Always the Runner contributes the first three tracks, each one overflowing with texture and grace. “Miles,” a bright offering reminiscent of late 90s band American Football, is the only song of the first band’s to feature vocals, and in the five brief minutes, it’s easy for a listener to find himself or herself lulled off in a melodious haven of sound. This is easily the EP’s high point. Follow this up with two tracks that not only evoke comparison to Explosions in the Sky but also fulfill the duties such a heavy conceit can carry, and you’re left with time well spent.

Snowbeast’s first song, the aggressively titled “To Hell With You,” shakes you out of the meditative state delivered by Always the Runner with a much more assertive, straight-forward style of playing. The song plays itself out nicely with a driving bass line and shoegaze-styled guitars. Another surprise is to be found as the next song echoes back the post-rock sounds heard on the first half of the EP. “A Very Long Succession of Miserable Failures (200 Ways)” closes the album by combining clear-cut rock with the delicate and airy.

Always the Runner and Snowbeast may be traveling down well-worn paths, but they keep things interesting enough to warrant a listen. When there’s so much garbage being tossed by hype machines about post-rock and all it does for music, it’s refreshing to get something that lives up the lofty expectations set.