While both Heirs and 2013s All Hail Bright Futures saw shiny new effects pedals, gang vocals and some undisputedly poppy vibes, The Endless Shimmering is the most technical and math rock fuelled that they’ve released since 2011s Gangs.
The band can be credited for sowing the seeds that saw the instrumental scene in Ireland and the UK well since their self-titled album released in 2009. Irish bands such as Adebisi Shank and Enemies surged in the wake of this, as the three added to Sargent House’s impressive line-up of bands. Thanks to movements from bands such as these, what could have been little more than a ripple in the water has grown to tsunami like proportions.
The youthful exuberance that is prevalent in the first two offerings reappears here but it is crisper and fresher than before. The Endless Shimmering, while still quintessentially ASIWYFA, is cut from an entirely different cloth than its predecessors and results in an album that almost captures their live shows in record form.
While this album lacks any lyrics whatsoever, the music itself is verbally expressive and reliant on the driving rhythm to take you through it without ever using words. The forceful opener of Three Triangles rolls into the single A Slow Unfolding of Wings seamlessly, and it becomes immediately apparent that the record you’re about to listen to is different to the others.
There is an initial concern that sonically, the album could trip itself up but it is pieced so well together that everything is fresh, every track dissipates into the successor with ease and while it spans nine tracks, it does feel like one big track which is truly impressive within itself.
The interweaving guitars of Rory Friers and Niall Kennedy are particularly well-written and it’s the first time since Kennedy stepped into the boots of Tony Wright in 2011 that you really feel them gel together as guitarists. The melodies bounce off each other throughout the album, particularly shining in the epic All I Need Is Space.
Rhythm pairing of the ever-impressive Chris Wee and bassist Jonathan Adger anchor songs down while the guitar duels of Friers and Kennedy take place. While both shine at different points, they come forward as a unit rather than two separate musicians and serve as an effective base point for melodies to spiral around.
ASIWYFA set out to create an album that captured the essence of their monumental live shows. While the album may feel isolating to those who are only recent converts, for those who have been there longer it is an almost cathartic back to basics listen that delivers a resounding return to form.