Review: And So I Watch You From Afar ‘Jettison’

Losing an important aspect of your life is devastating. Maybe that’s not what these lads intended to always enter my head when I hear their band’s name when they began this project in 2005. But can anyone blame me? It immediately conjures up notions of wallowing for someone, or something, from the past and wondering how life could have felt differently. Miles away from a full form obsession, and instead of pondering and looking towards the stars as the endless infinite, to occasionally wonder ‘what if’.

And So I Watch You From Afar 'Jettison'

Jettison is And So I Watch You From Afar’s sixth album and these boys are certainly seasoned veterans to the instrumental shoegaze game. Rory Friers on guitar, Niall Kennedy also on guitar, Ewen Friers on bass, and Chris Wee on drums and percussion, walk unparalleled in their genre and continue to show an ever-evolving sound.

Beginning like a sketchbook of post-modern composers the two-part Dive starts Jettison. Each instrument is given enough space to breathe, comfortably allowing the necessary distance between each section. A woman’s voice speaks somber rambling metaphors of loss. The words and music hold no anger and no real overwhelming sadness. Rather the marriage of an understanding of how things may have to be. Strings delivered so strong it’s easy to visualize them wrapping around the deep, trembling bass.

Manic beats resembling blast beats, delivered by classically trained musicians, cleanse the pallet on Lung. The mood is built upon but refuses to needlessly linger until it’s completely destroyed on In Air. It floods the ears with a bass groove until a rich baritone monologue of a man breaks the tension. Finishing the song is an undulating spectrum of noise, like a million soundgasms mutate until they collapse.

A hypnotic rotating drum begins Hold, making a dizzying and echoey headspace that’s impossible not to be swept away by. Ruminating like a memory that ceaselessly replays in the mind when sleep is an impossibility, and anxiety reigns supreme. Strings attempting to bridge the thoughts are quickly stamped out as soon as they begin. Dueling shoegaze guitars melt into a thick sludge of blood beating from a broken heart. It’s so messy and gorgeous. Time signatures are played with, and tempo means nothing at all.

a rush of pure adrenaline that makes the music feel like a living breathing thing…

Pure madness sets in. A lone splintered guitar begins Submerge. Think of dipping a toe into a pool of water to see how the rest of the body will respond. It grows in intensity, surrounding you as you put your leg in. A suffocating euphoria radiates the song’s core as you completely enter the liquid. Booming bass and a light tapping of drums tame things into the explosive start of Emerge. It’s a rush of pure adrenaline that makes the music feel like a living breathing thing.

The joyous title track, Jettison, feels like a scene out of an art house science fiction movie. Our main characters reach a new world looking down from their spaceship seeing the planet’s surface for the first time. All the ideas of new excitement wash along the eyes of the characters and fear isn’t even considered. Massive guitars by Friers and Kennedy soar into the bass notes of Eden and drizzle the drums of Wee that feel like a color my brain is unfamiliar with permeate.

The elegant A.D. Poet moves like a vapor. Choosing to hover while refusing to slam down. Strings come on as beams of light stoically bring the entire mood felt over the past half hour together. The instruments are so lush and crisp they feel organic. A final ‘I’ve missed you’ is spoken by the woman we heard earlier. Heartache dances with elegance on every moment. The nine songs separated are then compiled together on the final track that plays as a score for the whole piece.

This album made me have a breakdown upon first listen. Relistening immediately made me see my breakdown and understand it. But I’m forced to still wonder how so many parts of me are so vulnerable and weak? I know, as a 35-year-old man, that growing out of this isn’t going to happen. These are parts of me. And important parts make me me. This album is staring long and hard into a mirror. Twice.

Being reminded of who and what we really are is scary. Being shown something dripping outside of yourself that’s both beautiful and painful. You watch it wretch and thrive only to deplete back inside again is so uncomfortable. But feeling something so intense reminds you of the most important parts of what you really are. And maybe it was there for a reason.

Label: Equal Vision Records | Velocity Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Richard Murray