With beautiful, lush and nostalgic at every step of the way, listen as A Burial At Sea pour their heart out in Close to Home.

Release date: February 23, 2024 | Pelagic Records | Bandcamp | Instagram

It’s hard to find footing in any genre, but post rock is an especially tough one. With a mammoth ton of music and artists building its history, managing to make a name for yourself in post rock is a real endeavor. But through sheer passion and originality, A Burial At Sea manages to create something special with Close to Home and stand out in what is sure to be one of the genre’s best in recent times.

I decided to check out A Burial At Sea for one specific reason: they’re on Pelagic Records. I’ve said this before, but to me, the label has become synonymous with the very best modern heavy music has to offer, and once again I’ve not been disappointed. Close to Home is the band’s sophomore LP and it finds them at their most mature and creative yet. Proving they are not just another post rock band, they go beyond genre conventions and are far more interested in taking the music in novel directions than just repeating themselves.

Their first self-titled album was already a treat for those with a knack for experimentation, but their newest record sees the Scots embracing both their music and cultural heritage and getting, well, closer to home than before. While post rock is still the major leading force in the music, there is a lot of shoegaze and math rock here as well as different, Gaelic-inspired playing and instrumentation. The overall vibe that Close to Home gave me was nostalgia. It’s upbeat at times, mellow in others, but never sounds sad – it’s a special kind of sorrow, like I’m somehow experiencing that bittersweet feeling from cherished memories, only it’s their memories, not mine. Music is rad, isn’t it?

There is some real, tangible emotions in every single second in this record. Intro track “páirc béal uisce” (translates to ‘riverside park’, if Google hasn’t failed me) has such a gorgeous lead melody, that I knew from the very start I was gonna connect with this in a deeper level. It’s an instant classic for me, and honestly, one of my favorite album intros I’ve heard in a while. It is a very hopeful-sounding track, and I was so entranced by it that when “tor head” hit me with its heavier riff, I was caught off guard. The sheer difference from both tracks lets you know early on that you’re listening to something far from one dimensional. “tor head” is a full on rocker and brings on a ton of energy, while still retaining the beauty from its predecessor.

It’s quite hard to pinpoint favorites in this record. It is a riveting experience where every song is essential to the whole and contributes to something bigger than itself. My favorite bits are the more mellow and ‘epic’ ones, but you’ll find a lot of playful, math-like instrumentation on tracks like “GORSE BUSH ON FIRE”, that doubles down on the energy but still evokes the nostalgia factor I talked about. It makes gazey, slow tracks like “objects of the house” work much better. The overall mellowness also creates fertile ground for major climaxes, such as the ones in “NEW old” and “everything you are not”. Just some super satisfying buildups and catharses all around.

“DALL” closes things up with their twist the classic happy post rock track, sounding straight up like your best childhood memory, and the kind of song that makes you go ‘man, life is great, isn’t it?’ A proper sendoff that is as grandiose as it is intimate, like the end of your favorite comfort movie.

The more I listen to Close to Home, the more it speaks to me and feels like a warm hug. It bleeds passion from top to bottom, and its emotional beats are so easy to connect it that I can’t see any post rock or shoegaze fan being thoroughly immersed and captured by it. I know I was, and I’m also pretty sure I’ve stumbled on something I’m going to be listening to for the long run. Thanks to everyone at A Burial At Sea for putting your soul out on this record – it does make me feel close to home.

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