Within the great annuls of post-rock and post-metal, there are a few select steadfast artists that represent the global genre and scene. It’s such artists as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions In The Sky, MONO, Mogwai and Sigor Rós that represent the sound and ethos of post-rock as a whole, with their respective expansive discographies being the likely entry point for any aspiring listener. However, despite such bands remaining unchallenged within their positions, there’s a plethora of emerging artists heralding a new age of the genre into being. Even with many critically stating the genre has lacked decades worth of innovation and is beginning to stagnate, one only needs to look beneath the soil to the underground to see that this is very much not the case. One such act helping to usher in this new golden age of post-rock are Swedish contemporaries PG.Lost, a band who’s sound spreads to touch all the far flung corners of the sonic tapestry that forms the post-rock canvas.
PG.Lost may not be a new name for some, with the band having released a number of titles since their initial debut in 2006, but it’s perfectly understandable why many may be ignorant to their namesake. Following on from the release cycle of their 2016 release Versus, the act seemingly entered an age of quiet respite. Even after shows at Dunk! Festival and other events, for a number of years the waters in which the band inhabited where silent and without ripple. However, with the release of their forthcoming new record Oscillate now imminent, it’s transparent that the band have used this time to revitalise and reenergise their sound, ensuring that their new long play truly showcases their expansive output to it’s full dynamic and cinematic potential.
PG.Lost have always harboured a knack for ensuring their work carries a certain level of filmic emotional heft. However, this palatable sense has been fully exaggerated to draw dropping levels with this release. Immediately, the title track and opener washes over oneself like a wave of dramatic velvet sonic. The celestial and astral synths that introduce the track expand blissfully prior to erupting akin to Sirus A entering supernova. Behind a backdrop of colossal, almost spiritual synth, tribalistic drums chant progressively, adding urgent dramatisation and thematic spectacle. It’s an opener and grandiose intrude of pure cinematic majesty, one that sounds engineered for the most bombastic of IMAX sound systems and one that almost sounds parallel to Hans Zimmer conducting a reimagining of an Explosions In The Sky record.
Onwards, the record continues in a fashion that’s utterly cinematic. Even with the record rooted within the foundation of allure and distinguishably composed stoicism, the record consistently enjoys a dense air of keen adventurism. ‘E22’ and the shimmering downpours of ‘Suffering’ pulsate and throb with dissent amongst the cathartic melancholia that composes their respective soundscapes. Despite the band narrating themselves through pure instrumentation, these tracks – and more or less the record as a whole – resonate daunting emotional heft. Throughout the swells of gorgeous synth of the later track and the suffocating shoegaze swells of ‘E22’, emotional levity is not just abundant, but physical to a draw dropping degree. It’s a wonderfully vivid showcase of the group’s masterful knowledge of both tension and release and how such a crucial understanding can translate to articulating dramatic emotional catharsis.
Another fashion that this record showcases PG.Lost’s masterful understanding and implantation of the grand power of post-rock is how it implements a wide array of sensibilities from all across the spectrum of the genre. Whereas the record’s that proceeded this saw the group revealing in the robust bombast of barbed post-metal, Oscillate see’s PG.Lost's work expand and infiltrate the more sombre, synthetic and ambient corners of the genre; not in a way that’s invasive, but one that’s delicate and considerate. As a compressed piece of work, Oscillate shows the compelling splendour of the genre as a whole. Whilst the rugged expedition of ‘Eraser’ see’s the band ascend a mountain of pure post-metal ferocity in the key of Neurosis and Pelican, other moments flutter with the gorgeous weightlessness akin to Vasudeva, Sleepmakeswaves and even Fair Youth era Maybeshewill.
Like the moniker implies, ‘Mindtrip’, with it’s cavernous otherworldly sprawls is pure celestial synth lined bliss and escapism, an inner voyage of harmony of silk. In relation, the distant whale calls and desperate cries of lost ships within the oceanic ‘Waves’ resonates sombre yet beautiful thoughts of both distant star dotted oceans and the infinite impossible of galaxies above. However, it’s the almost Alcest like majesty of ‘Shelter’ and the dramatic tension of closer ‘The Headless Man’ that truly showcases Oscillate's skill of merging two unique sensibilities together seamlessly and complimentarily. To return to the cinematic and vivd once more, what this record excels at is creating breathtaking, emotionally overpowering soundscapes to retreat within and personally narrate.
In all, Oscillate isn’t just PG.Lost’s finest hour to date, it’s also an awe-inspiring showcase of the brilliant finesse that can still be achieved when conducting experiments within post-rock. Whilst some may state PG.Lost interlock various shades and techniques from the annuals of post-rock, such a sentiment sound's too artificial. What this record does is interweave the majesty and splendour from all points of the ambient genre and merge them together to form a beautiful mirage of vivid detail. If you truly long for a towering example of the power of this band and genre, look no further.
Oscillate is released November 20th via Pelagic Records.