01. The March... 02. And Termination 03. Home 04. A Mark of Ownership 05. Hawkins2008 Radar Recordings
Post rock/metal tends to come with all of the bells and whistles. Extravagant arrangements, electronic ambience, competing guitar harmonies, and the occasional string section are not uncommon elements in a style of music striving to deliver dynamic, expansive soundscapes. But what about the other end of the spectrum Can this style be pulled off without these seemingly essential standards Denver's Adai likes to think so, and with their debut EP, ... I Carry (and its wider re-release on Radar Recordings), the duo provides quite a few arguments in their favor. Their secret lies in guitarist Devin Mendoza's clear affinity for writing and executing thick melodic progressions in moments of dynamic necessity, and sparse, moody segues to bridge the gap between the crushing climaxes. The lead-off one-two punch of "The March..." and "And Termination" displays just this, as Mendoza rips through darkly melodic guitar melodies, peaking midway through the latter track alongside Justin Trujillo's explosive drumming. And while movie quotes might be long past the point of being overdone, closing the pair of tracks with a classic Office Space quote seems oddly fitting. "Home" has Mendoza intermittently stepping up to the mic, contributing low screams that shy away from the forefront, instead adding additional textures to the track. The EP comes to a close with the nine minute epic, "Hawkins," a fluid showcase of songwriting dynamics as it builds from tom-heavy drumming accompanied by clean guitar work into multiple swells of instrumental energy. On the whole, Adai does a pretty slick job blending the later output of Isis with a few of Jupiter-era Cave In's more expansive moments. And for a band with a single guitarist, this release sure has a thick sound that isn't hindered in the least by the lack of a bassist. Perhaps the only asterisk that comes with Adai's impressively full sound is the band's frequent (but not constant) use of layered guitar parts. This could be a case similar to that of Russian Circles, where Mike Sullivan has made a name for himself by pulling off some cleverly arranged guitar loops in a live setting, or simply evidence of the duo opting to include additional guitar tracks for a fuller recorded sound. But even though the recording may paint a slightly more complex picture than which could be handled by a pair of musicians, the fact that Mendoza and Trujillo are adamant about maintaining the duo in a live setting helps preserve their novel approach. And with such a strong guitar sound rooted in plenty of low-end, they don't leave room for any doubt that their live performance sounds any less full. Bottom Line: Sure, you've probably got a ton of post-rock/metal records by now, but are any of them by a duo Adai's stripped down approach to a genre typically saturated with frivolous musical touches should raise more than a few eyebrows. ... I Carry is a great start for a young band. Pay attention to these guys in the future.