Parhelia - Oceans Apart EP Review

by Dan Upton

Parhelia: The plural scientific term for a "sun dog," which has something to do with the sun refracting at a low angle through ice crystals. Who said rock couldn't teach you anything?

Of course, the Parhelia you care about is a four-piece instrumental post-rock band from Ireland. It's a shame that the classifications of instrumental and/or post-rock will turn many of you off, because Oceans Apart, the group's second EP, is really quite good. To give you a point of comparison, I've been listening heavily to Pelican and Jesu recently; the fact that Parhelia can stand up next to them and hold their own should be testament to their talent.

All of the elements are there, the rising and falling waves of sound, with smooth transitions from one motif to the next. Most of the CD is fairly laid back, although there are some heavier, more distorted passages to crash against the listener as well. One of the things I've noticed most about it, that I find rather interesting, is that the bass carries a large amount of the melody. For instance, on the title track, the first section's main melodic idea is delivered almost totally by the bass, while the guitars drift across the top.

The only thing that I have to complain about the disc is the opening track, "Lights In The Distance," just feels forced at the very beginning. Using the snare drums and toms to build up momentum in the first 10 seconds of the CD rubs me the wrong way, but that's just personal preference. Other than that, though, this is an excellent CD--whether you want some sort of ambient rock in the background or want to sort your way through the layers and different musical ideas, there's plenty to keep you engaged for a while here. Their website said it might be limited to a pressing of only 500 CDs, so check out a sample or two, and then jump on this before they run out! In the meantime, I'll be grooving to this and looking forward to what they put together next.

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Parhelia - Oceans Apart EP

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