This Will Destroy You came back to me in a major way when TWDY guitarist Christopher Royal King AKA Symbol dropped one of the best synth records of 2014 on Holodeck Records. Suddenly it all came back to me. This Will Destroy You. A band that could level you when you thought you had heard every single build-and-crescendo during that year where you listened to nothing but post-rock and could feel everything all at once. Those days are gone and the emotional acuity has been blunted. But This Will Destroy You has put out a post-rock record in 2014 that absolutely slays me, destroys me, pins me to the floor (or ceiling) and refuses to let up while exploring the impermanence of tape and creating some of the most thoughtful and interesting sounds of this year.
Eschewing much of the crescendo-core emotional slight of hands which treated the space between martial drumming and tremolo-picked guitar as a means to an end, much of Another Language is placid and shimmering, relying on droning synthesizers, guitars and echoing, dubby percussion to fill out ambient space full of decaying tape manipulation and glacial time signatures. TWDY somehow found a way to fold in the emotional heft of William Basinski's experimentation with tape decay and extreme patience into unfolding post-rock songs that swiftly (in Basinskian time) move from pole to pole.
When Another Language peaks, which it often does, it still raises the hairs on the back of my neck. If I'm listening to this on headphones and the drums kick in and the My Bloody Valentine shoegaze guitars are strummed with an unhuman level of violence after three or four minutes of wading in a sea of mournful sounds, there is this split second before the bedlam where I feel like I am floating, as if I have levitated just a few inches off the ground before being pinned between the shoulder blades with an incredible weight. I forget that I am a few months shy of 30 and my life is pretty good and I am tossed back into that time when wonder and sadness came in rapid cycles and refused to let me go until they could wring every last drop from me. Payments came in full journals with tiny, pressured handwriting and a film degree I have no idea what I am going to do with.
That is the beauty about something like Another Language. It is so transparent and bombastic yet maintains a near album's worth of restrained, patient tones, carving out space for it to really burrow into the tonality of a bell-like synth, a string arrangement, the half-closed crash symbol of the jazzy "Mother Opiate" without the pressure of rushing headlong into an intense crescendo. But when it comes they sell all and it is glorious and sad and beautiful and you feel like crying and running a mile in your work slacks because you just got off the bus that takes you to your first real adult job. God, this album is good.
"In an unsubtitled dream I saw the destruction and rebirth of a thousand worlds. I looked away when I realized I was responsible for it all."- something I probably wrote in a journal full of tiny, pressured handwriting.