‘Find A Place To Be Safe’ is the second album release from German post-rockers ‘Collapse Under The Empire’. The follow up to their self produced debut, ‘Systembreakdown’ is instrumental post-rock at its purist, which is at once its main selling point and its biggest flaw.
At its heart, musically this album revolves around the key rock instruments of bass, drums and electric guitar, with heavy use of piano. All these play well off each other well, none hogging the lead position left open by the lack of vocals. As is the way with post-rock, ‘Collapse Under The Empire’ aren’t afraid to call in the help of synth, digital effects and drum machines. Personally, while the drum machine has a nice effect, I’d much prefer to hear their real drummer, who is actually quite talented. The rest of the synths and effects create nice textures in the tracks where they appear, including the times when they appear to be aping an orchestra.
While this is all well and good, I have trouble finding anything original about this album. Everything here is done to a high level of polish, and it’s all very listenable, but none of it leaves a lasting impact. I can’t help the feeling that I have heard it all before. As I said before, this is post-rock at its purist, but they don’t step out of their post rock boundaries in the slightest. Sure, they reach out to the different edges of the genre, from the straight rock instrumentation, to electronic digitisation, from happy chill-out to heavy melancholy, but they don’t go any further than that.
Which isn’t to say that I don’t like this album, I actually really do. The problem is the reason why I like it. I can’t help but treat it as great backing music. This is an album I will enjoy, but only really while doing other things. I can’t find enough here to make it worth sitting down and letting it be the focus of my attention. This is good for the band, as I could see them being able to get their songs used in music and movies for this very reason, but it isn’t brilliant for making them stand out from the crowd.
If you want some well-made post rock as a soundtrack to whatever your doing, then I would recommend picking up ‘Find A Place To Be Safe’. If you are looking for something new and interesting to challenge you musically, then I would look elsewhere.
(Find A Place To Be Safe is released on 27th Nov 2009)
Far To The Part
A Smell Of Boiled Greens