Overall Score: 9.5/10 Musicianship: 10/10 Songwriting: 10/10 Emotional Dexterity: 9/10 Pros: Beautiful musicianship | Emotionally mature and resonant | Expert songwriting Cons: Absolutely nothing
Some people write off post-music as egregiously onanistic or pretentious. These people are of course fools who have never heard, for example, Through Silver In Blood, Kodama or Sunbather. In the world of post- music exists a rainbow of talented artists creating works of wonder with the tools handed down by previous generations of musicians. They seek to create something new, vibrant and artistically unique. In this enormously wide subgenre we find the UK’s own answer to the call for sonic experimentation of the highest order; Latitudes.
As a gently plucked acoustic guitar rings out into the emptiness of a studio, Part Island starts in an emotionally resonant and intimate manner. A delicate piano accompanies the six stringed instrument and Adam Symond’s tender vocal wraps proceedings into a cohesively bleak piece. The album is naked in its honesty and unashamed in its portrayal of sadness and regret. Symond’s performance should be enough to bring even the most stony hearted to tears, especially when accompanied by the masterful guitar work he, Adam Crowley and Tim Blyth employ. It is a thing of beauty, that gives way to wide, expansive tremolo picked guitars that cascade down around the listener. The oceanic riffing is at once suffocating and calming. Underlie is a comprehensively and maturely written song, with the emotional depth and complexity of the finest post- music, all with deftly played instrumentation.
Every note on this album is played with purpose. It is a lean and lithe work of art boasting impressive musicianship and a tender understanding of the bluest parts of the human psyche. For its duration you are not sitting at home or walking in the sunshine; you are transported to a cold and unforgiving place, wind lashing at your face and rain soaking you to your bones. As Dovestone begins, these carnal feelings of loss and misunderstanding grow ever more intense, and the harsh environment the album sets you in becomes that much more inhospitable. The growling lyricism of the guitars paints its own picture of grief, supported by an understated rhythm section that provide a backbone for the weight of this emotional heft.
Part Island glides through peaks and valleys of crushingly heavy and transcendentally ethereal. The song, The Great Past, brings together elements of melodic black metal and weighty, contemplative doom as well as the wistful reverie of folk, shoegaze and indie. The back and forth makes for a dynamic and intensely intriguing listen, with so many layers of interesting musicality to unpack. There are moments reminiscent of the greats of progressive and post- music; Blut Aus Nord, Neurosis, King Crimson and Immolation are all but name checked, but the influence is understated and never becomes overbearingly obvious. Latitudes have taken inspiration from the greats rather than settling for carbon copying them.
Part Island is borderline perfect. A dexterous blend of black metal, doom, shoegaze and folk, it transcends genre boundaries and is wrapped up in a stunning post-rock package. There is no moment on this album that has not been carefully considered and finely crafted, every musician bringing an explosive flair of virtuosity. Nothing is enumerated, nothing is ancillary. It wholly deserves any and all praise afforded to it, and should be considered as a piece of art, not simply another album. Music like this is not to be treated as a disposable commodity, it is something to be cherished and worshipped at the feet of. It is outstanding.
Part Island is released on the 5th of April 2019 through Debemur Morti Productions.