- by Rob Taylor Rating:9 Release Date:2016-01-30 Label: Seeing Red Records
Arizonian post-rockers True Cross write music with the same classical structure as bands such as Mogwai and Slint, apropos a battery of guitars sculpturing sound, crunching gloriously through 16 miniature symphonies. There are also clear allusions to shoegaze stalwarts MBV and Ride. The band have been quoted as saying “We are, to depressive shoegaze, what the Beatles were to pop music,” but this radically misstates the breadth of their musical vision.
True Cross are not monochromatic, or even sullen. There's more than a touch of metal riffing in the power chords, the downbeats connote something sinister, but while the grey clouds circle, a shift to major chords brings positivity, briskness, and even serenity. These frequent glints of sweet noise distinguish True Cross from much of the post-shoegaze crowd, adding a good measure of profundity to balance the gloominess.
The submerged vocal harmonies on Pure Divorce might just as easily be singing guitars because the pitch is so brilliantly controlled. On other occasions such as IV ‘Solitary’ the build is astronomical, like Mogwai at their finest. Music like this can be short on excitement, or worse, simply boring in the wrong hands, but True Cross know how to craft, and then extinguish a great passage before it loses its impetus. A cornucopia of ideas, and some caution thrown to the wind make for a compelling listening experience.
Pure Divorce is a sprawling work, occasionally losing its way. Goes with the territory. The frequent moments of sustained brilliance mitigate the less interesting detours. The beautiful vistas at the destination point justify the routes taken.
Live in this for a while. It will reward your time.