I am a huge fan of post rock. Bands like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You Black Emperor create amazing soundscapes that you can lose yourself in. This is why I was so pleased when I was asked to listen to Italian post rockers A Good Man Goes to War.
Hailing from Turin, Flavio Amelotti and Fabrizio Paglia have been in bands for well over a decade. They finally joined forces in 2019 and began crafting their sound. The result is their debut album The Sounds of a Large Crowd. Let’s dive in.
Opening the album is a track called ‘Improvising’. It opens on a low-key piano riff before insistent and ever building guitars join in. There is a lot of thought to dynamics, here and throughout the album. When we do reach a crescendo it is so satisfying. You know because you feel it. That’s what great music does.
‘Reflections’ follows with an almost sci-fi, blade runner soundtrack vibe to the intro. This is then engulfed by the powerful drums that are a signature of this band. They really smack those tubs. The guitars fall into two camps here. One a chiming strum and the other a fuzzed-out drone. Its almost like a call and response song between them. The piano underpinning the whole song gives it a sense of direction and purpose. It really is an amazing track.
‘All the best memories’ opens with the drums picking out the time from an almost jazzy pattern. Once the ascending/descending guitars come in we are back in familiar territory. Then comes the bass. Its huge. A wall of fuzz. This underpins the final minute of the song as the guitars soar to new heights. Breathtaking.
As if sensing our fatigue, the band take the pace down a notch for ‘The Bravest Moment’. This song is utterly joyous. After the slow pace of the intro the guitars and drums barrel along lickety split and you cannot help but smile. Mid song there is a dip where we can catch our breath before heading headlong into the final stretch. There is some nice use of panning which makes headphone listening exciting. Check out the video here.
‘This Cold White Sky’ paints a devastating image in your mind. One of ruined landscapes and the search for life. Its almost as if all the joy from the previous tracks falls away as some terrible event takes place. As always, the instrumentation is exemplary and brings home the feeling of utter desolation. It’s a very moving piece.
‘You Have to Leave Something Behind’ grows from the aftermath slowly blossoming sounding brighter and brighter as it moves closer and closer to the end. It almost feels like this is the second half of ‘This Cold White Sky’. They complement each other so well.
The album closes on ‘Lifeless Architecture’. This song feels final. The drums play a punctuated beat throughout like a series of full stops. The guitars build and swirl around, almost euphoric, that they lead the way to the end. But ultimately, it’s the low buzz of the strings that sees us out.
The band say that they aim to build soundscapes to create a sense of synaesthesia for the listener. That couldn’t have been more descriptive of my experience. I would heartily urge you to find forty minutes in your day and lie down with headphones on and let this album take you away.
The Sounds of a Large Crowd is available now from the groups Bandcamp page.