Review of He Who Saw The Deep Album by iLiKETRAiNS

This album will appeal to more than just train spotters. Spine-tingling, goose-bump inducing alternative post-rock brilliance is what this Leeds-based quartet offer with their second full length album. A year since the release of the divine taster single 'Sea Of Regrets', also on the albums tracklisting', iLiKETRAiNS return with He Who Saw The Deep; a stunning collection of powerful, progressive, melodic post-rock.

Opener 'When We Were Kings' heralds something of a new direction for the band with picked guitar introduction and stomping feel reminiscent of indie contemporaries Foals or Bloc Party; it's more upbeat than usual with dance floor friendly verses and kicking into epic, cymbal heavy choruses ridden with atmospheric soaring guitar lines. Here, iLiKETRAiNS prove that they are contemporary and receptive to the music of their peers and, simultaneously, masters of the soaring, emotive post-rock blend that they've perfected over the years; with this track, the forceful power of their trademark guitar sound meets the pounding drums of indie pop.

iLiKETRAiNS He Who Saw The Deep Album

'A Father's Son', alongside a picking of other tracks, would settle well on an Editors album; that's absolutely no criticism. 'We Saw The Deep', again with glimmering Bloc Party-like interlocking delay-heavy guitar parts over pounding bass drum build into a phenomenal crescendo with lush strings and backing vocals. Some of iLiKETRAiNS' songs are melancholic and sombre yet beautiful, whilst others create a wonderful uplifting climax as 'We Saw The Deep' does before kicking back to its former pounding, bouncy indie-rock groove and snapping to an abrupt end.

By track four iLiKETRAiNS have pushed aside dance floor friendly indie rock and hint back to their previous material; David Martin, in his distinctive baritone voice, sings pensive, intelligent lyrics over morbid organ chords, backing vocals, guitars, bass and heartbeat-like toms. 'Progress Is A Snake' and 'These Feet Of Clay' both follow in a similar vein; down-tempo with thudding drums and gently morbid minor harmonies oozing from the guitars. The drums of 'Progress Is A Snake' drop out midway through before pounding back in the form of attacking, almost military, snare which is surrounded by an angsty, suspense-ridden instrumental build.

Throughout He Who Saw The Deep, great responsibility lies with Simon Fogal and the variety he brings with his ever-changing drum parts, so vital to the constantly evolving nature of iLiKETRAiNS' powerful audio cohort. 'Sirens', for example, begins very sparsely, moodily and suspense inducing with throbbing drums and very low synth bass; the track builds in terms of texture and atmosphere before the chordal padding dies. There's frequently this very whole, padded sound which is intercepted now and again by sparse angular, distorted phrases; gear changes determined by Fogal.

The eight-minute masterpiece 'Sea Of Regrets', is the highlight of He Who Saw The Deep; it lilts along in tame calmness, saving its climactic build until three minutes in at which point it gradually begins this powerful driving crescendo with a wall of harmony and backing vocals. The track gets stronger and stronger but drums hold back through repetition after repetition of the chorus until the very end. Once its climax is reached, 'Sea Of Regrets' dies out to almost nothing with atmospheric, subtle guitar reverberations delicately and beautifully repeated.

He Who Saw The Deep evolves through progressions of powerful moving harmony and ever developing musical emotion, creating an entrancing, stunning album.

Hannah Spencer

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