The Ascent of Everest - How Lonely Sits The City
Charlie Ralph 07/10/2008
In the big and messy world of album reviews, 'epic' has a very different definition from the one in the Oxford English Dctionary. 'Epic', when used to describe an album, can usually be translated as "exhausting and dull" with the occasional bit where EVERYTHING GETS REALLY LOUD and then it gets quiet again. Therefore, this word must only be used when it is truly necessary, to ensure its original meaning is left intact. So make sure that when we say that The Ascent Of Everest's debut album 'How Lonely Sits The City' is 'epic', I don't mean boring, I mean breathtaking.
The album is a mere five tracks long, but with each of them ranging between 7 and 15 minutes, this record requires time. It isn't something to listen to on a busy train to work and it certainly isn't something to play if you want a party. But what it is is a record you can sit back with, get something to drink and wrap yourself up in like a beautiful musical blanket.
There are certain sections of the album that contain particular brilliance, such as the melancholic opening strings of As The City Burned..., lulling the listener into a false sense of security before erupting into a wall of vicious noise and clashing cymbals. Of course, an album of such length and fluidity will always have its faults, and in the case of this album, it's the decision to compress the Mountains trilogy that closes the album into one 16-minute marathon, which might've been a good decision if this closer was anywhere near as awe-inspiring as the rest of this work of art, but unfortunately that's not the case and it leaves the album going out with a whimper rather than a bang
How Lonely Sits The City can be compared, if you're desperate, to some of the more obvious instrumentalists such as Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky, but frankly this album trumps everything but the best works by these and other instrumental bands, and should be rewarded as such. So, if you have the time, and good enough speakers, The Ascent Of Everest's album is one of the best records you could buy all year. But then again, even if you don't it's still a fantastically rewarding listen from a band who are surely only a few months away from being branded as "The Next Sigur Ros" by Q Magazine.