Whenever I come across a band that is labeled with a “post” in front of their style (post-metal, post-rock, et al) I tend to cringe just a little. It’s not that there haven’t been some amazing “post” albums and artists over the last twenty years, but more often than not, the final result is rarely pleasing. Post-anything frequently falls prey to it’s own grandiose architecture, sacrificing songwriting in favor of atmosphere, or even worse, an orgy of instrumental self-indulgence that never fully takes flight and collapses under the weight of its own lofty expectation. That being said, there are exceptions to every rule, and Falloch‘s new album This Island, Our Funeral is just that.
At first glance, This Island, Our Funeral follows the blueprint for post-music to a T. With a running time of close to an hour for just seven songs, atmospheric interludes and sweeping instrumental flourishes, it fit the bill for an album that I would normally dismiss. But as the feedback buzzed in the opening moments of “Tòrradh” it was singer Tony Dunn’s gorgeous melodic vocal flourish that made my ears stand at attention. Assuming it was just a shitty post-metal trick, I settled back down for what was sure to be a long, boring instrumental journey. But before long, the band ripped into a muddy riff and Tony was back, with his powerful voice carrying the load. It went on for the better part of the song before finishing with a mournful piano melody, befitting of the fog-drenched shoreline depicted on the album’s cover.
Surely, a song that good was just a fluke right? Post-music is never that great, is it? But, as I worked my way through the remainder of the album it became readily apparent that the albums opener wasn’t just a flash in the pan. It was the ignition point that lit the fucking pan on fire! New surprises greeted me on every song from This Island, Our Funeral. “For Life” is equally beautiful as it is brutal with Dunn’s soaring vocals over sludgy, double bass-infected riffs, while “Brahan” showcases the bands predilection for keeping listeners on their toes, changing parts and time signatures with ease before exploding into a massive sing-along chorus. Even the epic, 12 minute dirge of “Sanctuary” commands the listeners attention throughout, a rare feat for a song with such length.
After a few spins through This Island, Our Funeral, I found it increasingly difficult to find something I didn’t like about this album. In all honesty, its weakest point is the two minute, atmospheric break of “-“, which really only serves as placeholder for you to catch your breath. With the bands combination of a variety of different musical styles, creative instrumentation (tin whistles and pianos!) and Dunn’s powerful, Jared Leto-esque voice (that’s meant to be a compliment), Falloch has created one of the most memorable and compelling albums to ever bear the post prefix.