And So I Watch You From Afar – Heirs – Review by Killian Laher
And So I Watch From Afar have gone on quite a journey from their hardcore roots. While keeping the guitars heavy, thus giving their music a metallic edge, on their last album, 2013’s All Hail Bright Futures, they escaped the confines of their previously instrumental sound, threw in vocals (chanted, rather than sung) and let their hair down and partied, with mixed results it has to be said.
The opening few tracks on their latest album Heirs feel very much like a continuation of this sound, Run Home sounds positively gleeful while These Secret Kings I Know is like a thrash conga tune. While these tracks are without doubt technically accomplished, they lack the killer instinct of some of their earlier material, which allowed such heavy music to really connect and produce an emotional response.
But around halfway through the album, People Not Sleeping pops up, blissfully blasting away the cobwebs at breakneck pace, and it feels less overworked than what has gone before. The tense, sinewy Fucking Lifer is a decent slab of exploratory metal. Some of the rest of the the album (A Beacon, A Compass, An Anchor, and perhaps Animal Ghosts) is quite close to a kind of heavy, progressive rock. Better is the hard-riffing title track, it’s one of the more straightforward tracks here and also one of the more enjoyable ones, sounding almost like Mogwai in parts. It seems like the album gets into a comfortable stride with this and the heavy, blissed-out epic close Tryer, You.
Perhaps it’s time for And So I Watch You From Afar to simplify their sound a little, as the complexity of much of this album can make it an exhausting listen.
1. Run Home
2. These Secret Kings I Know
4. Redesigned A Million Times
5. People Not Sleeping
6. Fucking Lifer
7. A Beacon, A Compass, An Anchor
8. Animal Ghosts
10. Tryer, You