Suddenly I panicked. What if Veles is an inside joke – a saucy nickname for the drummer’s schlong, mayhaps? My monocle exploded. Would I ever comprehend the context?
Bad news, kid: you are neither a superhero nor a secret machine. You are a human being. I know, I know. An unhappy fact, because to be human is to be, well, unhappy. Unsatisfied. Unfulfilled. Maybe unconvinced.
This general sense of “fun” manifests itself in various ways. Often, we search for deeper meaning in things. Especially in the arts. And especially in music. Even in our age of drenching stimuli, lost souls still dive down rabbit holes to crack album cover codes, or to unearth scripture behind straightforward lyrics. The drive is primal. The allure is real. At times, your writer caves to suggestion, symbolism, and conspiracy. This occurred the other evening when I downloaded a promo copy of Veles, the upcoming record by Au Revoir, a post-rock quintet from northern New Jersey. To what does the LP title refer, I wondered, and how does it relate to these four tracks? Down the Google I dove. Was the album inspired by the Macedonian city of Veles? Does it tell the tale of the Slavic god of music, magic, and dragons? Suddenly I panicked. What if Veles is an inside joke – a saucy nickname for the drummer’s schlong, mayhaps? My monocle exploded. Would I ever comprehend the context?
Eventually, I relaxed, and chose to be passive – to drift, and see where Au Revoir would take me. A correct approach, for Veles is a force of nature, an experience of surges and plunges. Opener “The Bottom” begins with ominous feedback before boiling into a post-metal squall featuring screams: the final moments of some catastrophe. Around the four-minute mark, though, the song drags the listener under to a beautiful Sigur Rós space. This ambiance flows right into “Drifting”, which could have graced the Icelandic band’s 2002 LP, ( ).
Ironically, the screams rise back to the surface – to less effect – on “Sinking”, easily the weakest tune here. (It brings to mind a Kraken Billy Corgan emerging from the ocean, throwing the titan of all tantrums. And I say this as a genuine Smashing Pumpkins fan.) Yet all is not lost. In the end comes “Deluge”, an epic of brutal percussion and heavy metal riffs that subsides into a powerful light. The listener may remain in the dark about what the whole thing means, but no matter. Sometimes, just to experience is just enough.