Envy: Recitation

(Temporary Residence)

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Japanese post-hardcore veterans have returned with their first full length since 2006’s Insomniac Doze. Building on their expansive 18 year track record, they’ve continued to further experiment upon their broody mix of hardcore riffs and post-rock atmosphere. Recitation sees the band leaning more upon the wordless expanses pioneered by bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor! while still remaining in touch with their heavy side.

Songs like “Rain Clouds Running In A Holy Night” have distinct movements; there’s a rise and fall to the energy on this album. It’s not to say that Envy have lost their edge,despite being drenched in warm clouds of extended instrumental breaks the songs still kick. “Worn Heels And The Hands We Hold” hits hard, with the peak punctuated by endless drum fills and a satisfying breakdown. “A Hint And The Incapacity” spends three quarters of its nearly 7 minute span without a drum hit, then they almost overcompensate by layering the last quarter with a heap of distorted riffs.

As with on ‘Light and Solitude,’ spoken word passages punctuate the album. They’re probably the only real misstep as they don’t fully gel with the rest of the songs. A little monologue in Japanese works here and there, but not so frequently. On the bright side, as with any of the slower numbers…just wait awhile and the heaviness returns. The peaks of the songs on this album still feel like older Envy, filled with quicker tempos and Tetsuya Fukagawa’s gravely scream.

Utilizing the expansive guitar sound shared by other post-rock acts like Explosions In The Sky and Red Sparowes for the mellow moments, it gives a fair bit more tonal range to the album. Touches of strings on the glacial intro track “Guidance” and the acoustic only “Incomplete” only work to stretch the band’s already assorted palette.

Envy have found a fine balance to their already unique mix of influences, stressing more this time on the post-rock playbook. Though there’s more experimentation, they’ve found a place that perfectly straddles the line between beautiful and heavy.

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