Day For Airstrikes - Into The Comet

Simon Jay Catling 11/06/2010

Rating: 3.5/5

It's an almost masochistically upbeat 'Dons Of New Islington' that fully introduces us to Day For Airstrikes on the painstakingly crafted Into The Comet, after an introductory spoken word sample that begs to “check our arithmetic, before we work our fingers to the bone.” Major key guitar melodies arch over rolling percussion with an eerie sense of happiness. It's eerie if you know that this album took almost four years from initial conception to eventual release, covering a time which saw the Mancunian instrumentalists lose group members, have equipment stolen and see the record label initially scheduled to release the LP go out of business.

So when 'Dons Of New Islington' takes a deep breath on completion of its canter of an opening two minutes or so, and then decides to clamber up another hill in pursuit of sunlight, you ponder whether this is a group grown demented by previous trials and tribulations, or whether they are just, y'know, happy. It's rare to describe post-rock/whateveryouwanttocallit as simply as that, but in this case it's no bad thing, in fact it's the little nuances which convey this feeling that prevent Day For Airstrikes slipping into “heard it all before” territory: the playful off-beat finger clicks and funk grooves that slink in at the beginning of 'Cosmonaut,' the genuine cock-rock riffery that pops up during parts of nine minute closer 'Honestly Honesty Bosun Smee.' Sure, at times they can fall back onto the overly done gradual crescendos that people were starting to get a bit tired of round about the time Redjetson split up in 2008, but they don't make it their soul aim to do so. There's a more intimate human touch at work here, the group's personality seemingly in evidence organically and not just the parts they're consciously conjecting onto their music.

Into The Comet never truly stays still; it settles after 'Cosmonaut,' the second full track of six, but it's always looking to do something else. Sometimes that something else doesn't amount to too much; 'Quiet!!!!! Warmbear' doesn't quite come up with the urgency the off-kilter opening hook demands - though it does create a fine racket in trying to do so - but at other times it can switch to something quite different. 'Cosmic Horse' sees the group abandon all rock pretense and join the likes of Loscil and William Basinski in murky depths of droning grey that uneasily draw through the listener; it's comfortably the darkest sound heard on the album, but from that blossoms a rousing beast of a motif that gathers the vitality required to charge on in to the aforementioned finale 'Honestly Honesty Bosun Smee.' Here 'Into The Comet' is at its best. Juddering siren guitars find themselves being lunged at by monstrous six-stringed counterparts at the song's apparent apex, only for the three guitarist on the records to split their legs, point their guitars skywards and leap into a most delirious prog-riff send off which - depending on the way you look at it - is either the ultimate ebullience of the whole record, or the point where their sanity finally takes leave of them. If it did you'd be hard pushed to blame them.

There's been a notable resurrection in instrumental music in 2010, with acts like And So I Will Watch You From Afar and Vessels blowing new life into proceedings both live and on record, whilst 65 Days Of Static have returned with an album so far from their blueprint as to shatter it completely. Truly the “post-rock” term means little now, but the sounds that have grown from its ashes are proving to be vibrant. Day For Airstrikes may be operating under the radar in comparison with those other bands, but Into The Comet will provide a worthy addition to the year's canon for those who take the effort to seek it out.

Release Date: Out Now