The melding of bombast and beauty, this is what Caspian does best. On their first release You are the Conductor, and perhaps the best instrumental EP of 2005, Caspian maintains a firm melodic foundation while not forgetting to bring the rock. In the first three songs; “Quovis”, “Further Up” and “Further In”, Caspian establish their post-rock prowess by fusing layered overdriven guitars, an air tight rhythm section, and an almost innate ability to create gorgeous melodies.
“Quovis” begins with a bevy of distorted guitars and a driving beat that continues throughout the continual three song set. At only 1:16 the song quickly moves to “Further Up”, which introduces the aforementioned high-range delayed guitar melodies. The song ebbs and flows, however, each subdued moment never loses steam and the subsequent build continues the intensity of the last. The mounting pressure comes to a head during “Further In”, where a cacophony of guitars coalesce creating a wall-of-sound that even post-rock giants EITS would be proud to achieve.
The fourth track, “Loft”, provides the weakest point of the EP. While maintaining the sound created in the three previous tracks, the melodic and emotive elements seem stereotypical and cannot attain the level previously established. However, Caspian quickly make amends on the final track, “Last Rites”. The track follows the oft used gradual crescendo format, yet Caspian stave off any potentially trite moments by conveying a sincerity and emotional urgency atypical of similarly formated pieces; making “Last Rites” one of the best instrumental songs of last year.
Overall You are the Conductor displays a maturity well beyond the band’s years. The song writing, band’s cohesiveness, and grandiose sound all point to a promising future. If Caspian progress from the admirable debut of You are the Conductor they could easily become a powerhouse in the post-rock scene.