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The Sea Shall Not Have Them — Debris
(Bird's Robe no#, 2021, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-12-07

Debris Cover art

The Sea Shall Not Have Them is a British war movie from 1954, but I’m not sure what that has to do with this Australian duo which has taken the film’s name as their own. For the most part, Curt Emerton (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Mat Wilton (drums, percussion, field recordings) create what’s come to be called post-rock, but they have their own twist on it to distinguish themselves from other bands. They do not indulge in the lengthy buildups that are so common in the style (at least not on this album), instead preferring to get to the point more quickly, resulting in tracks mostly in the six to seven minute range. On several tracks, Emerton goes for a beefy bass tone with fuzz that really adds impact to the music. “Everything Melts” is a great example of this, and probably my favorite track on the album. Wilton’s drumming is powerful and thunderous, favoring muscular propulsion over jazzy subtlety. There’s a wide variety of guitar tones on offer, from clean echoing notes and phrases to long-sustained chords. Keyboards tend toward long chords that hover somewhere between organ and string synth, with diversions into piano-like tones. The duo is joined by guests on a few tracks, most notably Ed Fraser, who sings and plays guitar on “Lower the Sky.” Yes, this track has not only vocals, but lyrics, stepping away from the otherwise completely instrumental nature of the music. Overall, it is a highly developed sense of drama that’s key to the music’s success, and Debris has a lot to offer fans not just of post-rock but anyone who appreciates intelligent music that packs a punch.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

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