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Balmorhea - Constellations

  by Paul Waller

published: 4 / 5 / 2010

Balmorhea - Constellations
Label: Western Vinyl
Format: CD


Classically-inspired and emotionally riveting post rock on fourth album from Austin, Texas-based group, Balmorhea

This record is perfect for those lovers of post rock or instrumental music but who want things a little more classical in scope ,or for those who are into classical music that have tired of the rigid formulas and instrumentation and wish to branch out into something a little more off the beaten path and dare I say contemporary. Of the nine compositions here none have the unsettling range of say Godspeed You Black Emperor or the otherworldliness of Sigur Ros but neither do they need it. Balmorhea can stir the emotions in other ways. The masterstroke of including banjo in 'Bowspirit' transforms the song from a spacious and needy acoustic number to a joyously cinematic tribute to an age gone by. 'Night Squall' and the title track also feel completely natural as they evolve throughout their short running times. Only with the seven minute Steerage And The Lamp do you feel that the group could not fit anything else into the piece, having hung the listener out to dry with its sweeping strings and tight juxtapositions. Final track 'Palestrina' takes elements of Eno’s best work for three minutes and then completely alters the atmosphere by adding a few simple strums upon the guitar. With 'Constellations' being the band's fourth album, they seemed to have settled into a unique place in music. If this last track is a hint at where Balmorhea will go from here I think that it maybe a mistake for each of the previous eight tracks on 'Constellations', although tentative in approach, release such euphoric twists and turns and musical pay offs that it would be foolhardy of them to change their style too such extremes. If ever there was a case for sticking to what you are best at this would be the case.

Track Listing:-
1 To the Order of Night
2 Bowsprit
3 Winter Circle
4 Herons
5 Constellations
6 Steerage and the Lamp
7 Night Squall
8 On the Weight of Night
9 Palestrina

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