Canada - Full Moon 88 - 12/08/03
Do Make Say Think
Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn
Much like its masterful predecessor & Yet
& Yet, the new album by Do Make Say Think demonstrates how you can play instrumental music with
subtlety, grace and panache, without necessarily resorting to the maudlin atmospherics of Godspeed,
or the repetitious cycles and loud/quiet dynamics overused by Mogwai. Godspeed and Mogwai may make
great music, but it is music that tends to be characterized by such heavy-handed emotional signifiers
that you can hear where the songs are going to develop from the first few bars. Do Make Say Think
make a mockery of such predictable structures and take the listener to places they never knew existed
under the banner 'post-rock'.
Winter Hymn... is divided into three suites of three songs each, and the pace of the
record works well as a result. Whereas & Yet & Yet was home to a diverse range of tracks
that could be appreciated outside the context of the album, this plays best as a whole, especially
when a few of the tracks are simply atmospheric interludes that serve to link more weighty
Particularly noteworthy are the propulsive opener, which has a bassline so groovy it dispels
any preconceptions that this type of music has to be dour or angry. It's triumphant and exultant,
reaching massive crescendos through the use of a charging horn section to accompany the distorted
guitar onslaught. The song takes a breather, and then the bassline is back, riding a more frantic
drum pattern. These songs continue to surprise and delight on repeated listens, twisting and turning
through different interpretations of the main theme, or breaking away into unexpected territory.
"Ontario Plates" opens the final suite as another standout, with a brooding bassline and huge
drums that crack out of the speakers. The tune is simple, and breaks down in the second half as
though the music is being tuned out to find another radio station, and then settles into one of
the calming instrumental passages before the lovely finale. This one, my wife's favourite, couples
a lovely plucked acoustic guitar with some horns and whooshing guitar effects, before scooting
away into the sunset with organ, brushed drums and slide guitars.
Not quite as impressive as & Yet & Yet, Winter Hymn... is still an excellent listen,
and makes you wonder why more people aren't paying attention to this band. Do Make Say Think are
so adept at handling the dynamics of an instrumental that they can not only keep you thrilled over
the course of an album, but you can expect them to continue making excellent records in the future.
Copyright © 2003 Tim Clarke