Belfast experimental rockers And So I Watch You From Afar have been critical darlings on the Irish and Northern Irish music scene since their 2009 self-titled debut. All Hail Bright Futures is likely to garner And So I Watch You From Afar their third Choice Music Prize nomination.
Equal parts art piece and straight-up rock album, All Hail Bright Futures pushes the proverbial envelope. While starting muted with “Eunoia” and “Big Thinks Do Remarkable,” the album quickly blooms into a raucous affair with the stellar tracks “Like a Mouse” and “Mend and Make Safe,” providing a sonic thrash that never loses composure and somehow stays entertaining.
All Hail Bright Futures manages to be both completely accessible and intricately layered in a way that invites multiple listens with new details emerging on each spin. There are some frustrating moments on the record where the band’s creativity sounds forced and overwrought with the title track being the prime offender. Setting these moments aside, though, and looking at the album as a whole consistent work makes for an experience not unlike walking through a modern art gallery. Not every individual piece makes sense but the exhibit as a whole both challenges and embraces your aesthetic sensibilities. In other words, put All Hail Bright Futures into your headphones and enjoy the ride.
(Sargent House, 1553 Curran Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026)