And So I Watch You from Afar: Jettison – Brave, bold and beautiful

The sixth album from the Belfast sonic explorers is their most adventurous yet

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Artist: And So I Watch You from Afar
Genre: Rock
Label: Equal Vision/Velocity Records

In the late 1990s post-rock became an annoying catch-all term to lazily categorise raucous instrumental music by diligent all-male bands with beards and zero personality. And So I Watch You from Afar were always country miles ahead of the rest of the posse, producing some of the freshest and finest Irish music of recent times on their eponymous debut and killer second album Gangs.

Jettison will make you bin any expectations you might have for this mighty Belfast quartet. Though they have purveyed and perfected a sense-shuddering earthquake of melodic noise since their recorded history began in 2009, their sixth studio album is a multimedia extravaganza featuring sumptuous strings and an audiovisual collaboration with artist Sam Wiehl.

In addition to their expansive widescreen vision and a more adventurous sound supplemented by the Arco String Quartet, snatches of spoken word by Emma Ruth Rundle and Neil Fallon crop up throughout. The presence of human voices adds extra layers to Jettison, simultaneously making it more human and mysterious, as there aren’t any linear cut-and-dried narratives to be found in these intriguing contributions.

The title track is a full album in its own right, a 38-minute long score that concludes Jettison and effectively renders this collection a double. It’s brave, bold and different to anything they’ve done before, a resounding return from a band who are never afraid to rip it up and start again. Long may they stun.