Perhaps I haven’t heard enough in the way of instrumental post-rock in recent months, but Grün’s music and its varying components of abrasion, clarity, repetition and full-on overdrive makes for an enervating, immersive listening experience. At least some of this is a result of the album’s production. Eschewing the grimy, organic sound that so many post-rock bands either through chance or design arrive at, Grün’s music is pitched at almost clinical levels of digital accuracy and while this may not always work for every band that attempts it, Grün capture the glacial wall-of-entropy vibe with resonance and depth.
I know next to nothing about the Australian band, although on the strength of what is their second album I am tempted to use phrases such as ‘supergroup’, ‘prog masterpiece’ and ‘post-rock compositional genius’ and doubtlessly other words of enthusiasm. An album of lengthy instrumental tracks could easily turn out as a sprawling, self-indulgent exercise in thrash aesthetics – and still be a quite good rock album despite that – but Manyana goes way beyond the accepted prog and post-rock blueprints, paced for effect and played with near surgical precision, its soundscape one of epic grandeur.
Every other review I’ve read of Manyana has been a positive one, and there appears to be a surge of instrumental post-rock emerging around Sydney just now, of which Grün are the first to get my attention, and while it isn’t necessary to listen to the album in the context of Grün’s contemporaries – a search for info turns up names including Dumbsaint, the also-from-Sydney Solkyri, Melbourne’s Orsome Wells and Caligula’s Horse, amongst numerous others – that knowledge of Grün’s contemporaries explains something about what makes Manyana the album that it is. Basically, there’s an amount of artistic competition around the Sydney/Melbourne post-rock scene that has bands vying with each other in all kinds of area, in songwriting, production and instrumentation, and it’s from this creative ferment that Manyana has emerged as an album of significant powers.
That isn’t to say that Grün’s music is an overwhelming, sprawling noise fest. It is an album of finely balanced extremes, of eloquent and intricate guitar and electronics and of floor-shaking power-chords, music that avoids too much in the way of repetition, and is subtly animated by some bone-shaking metallic percussion, which Grün seem to have a definite grip on. As musicians, Grün have pulled out every stop they could find to make Manyana, an album that works on several levels simultaneously, spectacular and unnerving instrumental post-rock played by a band at the peak of their abilities.