Album Review - Long Division

Long Division
Calm Before
Self Released

Genre: Indie / Alternative / Experimental
Location: Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Review by Josh 'Pinky' Pothier

People expect different things from instrumental music. Some want it to be really technical, full of odd times and complicated patterns, something a person with a low attention span can still get into. Others want it drawn out and epic, a huge crescendo that swells and crashes into an epic drawn out finale. My tastes are simpler. I just want an album I can read to.

Long Division’s debut album Calm Before has been the soundtrack to my day off work. I listened to it while cleaning up around the house, I listened to it walking around the city doing errands, and I listened to it sitting on my couch reading Amnesia Moon and eating a bowl of mini-mini-wheats without milk, the way a man should. Instrumental music should heighten your day, whether it’s playing through your headphones or happening live on stage. If it doesn’t move you most of the time, then it’s not doing its job. Long Division have some truly uplifting moments on Calm Before, and as far as instrumental debuts go, it’s fairly solid.

Now, to be honest, when I first put the album on, I was skeptical. The first couple tracks are your fairly standard mid-tempo crescendo type songs. You know, they go slow part-build up-snare rolls-build up-cymbal crashes/epic beats-finish, and they are fairly predictable. They aren’t bad; they’re just there. I was hoping for something more out of the first couple songs. The funny part is, just when I started to think “ok yeah, this is pretty standard stuff” Summer Storms comes on out of nowhere and grabs my attention. It’s the shortest song on the album but it packs the most wollop, sort of like Tortoise meets Explosions in the Sky. It’s got an interesting drum pattern and really great guitar tones. From that point on I feel like the songs have more thought put into arranging them in a way that strays from the straight ahead quiet-loud dynamic, and things get exponentially better.

After Summer Storms the songs feel like they’ve been given a booster shot of melody. Forgotten Generations still has that standard feel the early tracks did, but it feels much more organized, and the chord patterns don’t feel obvious. Each member is a talented player, and their patience keeps the songs sounding organic and coherent. Mutations is a good mid-tempo rocker with some good bass and drum work, and the final song is a fitting end to the record, a lone horn blowing over a slowly picked guitar. When the drums come in the pattern is busy and varied, but it maintains the pulse of the song very well. Essentially had the track listing been reversed, I would have been much more enthusiastic at the beginning.

Their Facebook Page boldly claims, “We might not be anything like what you've heard before, but we are everything you've heard before.” I wouldn’t go that far, they haven’t re-invented the wheel, but they did put out a solid debut album, an album interesting enough to draw my attention away from my book from time to time, but textured enough to be a fitting soundtrack when I return to it.


No comments: