December 11, 2009 | , | 3.5

Pelican, What We All Come to Need

Pelican: What We All Come to Need

Perhaps it’s just me or the glut of brutal death and black metal albums I’ve been swamped under the past couple of months, but Pelican‘s latest What We All Come to Need is a breath of fresh air. I know that I will never understand all that they put into their albums or any of the post-whatever influences that they draw from or display. I do know that after hearing some of their more recent work, this album contains some of the best material they’ve written lately — without all the pretentious noodling that more progressive minded instrumental bands tend to lean heavily on.

The album opener, “Glimmer” contains some decent riffing, catchy hooks and is the injection point at which the infectious tones and melodies of the album fully take over. “Ephemeral” is one of the stand out songs on the album, but it was recently released on an EP just a few months ago, so I’m not sure if it should count toward me really liking WWACTN or not. Title track, “What We All Come to Need” is easily my favorite track on the album. It’s so full of layers and repetition in all the right places.

The plodding, stranger-in-the-shadows feel of “The Creeper” is a great change of pace for these guys. While not really encompassing the shoe gazing elements of their previous work, it’s tone and overall feel lend themselves to an addictive groove with lots of ebb and flow that will have you slowly nodding along the whole way through. There are a couple of other tracks (“Specks of Light” for instance) on the album that embrace the slightly darker moods as “The Creeper,” yet they all inject a little brightness here and there to let the song breath naturally.

If we needed any evidence that Pelican are quite capable of producing great material without vocals, let’s take album closer “Final Breath” as a clue. They don’t.

So, after a couple of less-than-stellar albums (all of which had songs I really love, but as a whole didn’t work out fully), Pelican release their strongest and most varied album in a few years with WWACTN. I’ve been spinning this damned album so often that it’s been tough to escape it’s groove and review the ever growing pile of CDs in the home office.

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