Indignu – Umbra

Label: Self-released

Produced by: Ruca Lacerda (recorded and mixed by)

Slow form (mostly) instrumental rock from Portugal, Indignu seem almost dedicated to making sure they don’t rock, delaying and delaying to a point of nigh-disservice, except that the flow during those delays are so lush that it gets a pass. On the flip side, when they put some noise together it’s fleeting, with uneven production / mixing not necessarily bringing enough volume forward to give the music appropriate punch. Which all sounds rather negative, but Umbra is very much the type of listen that you warm to: the cinematic, string-based sound is richly layered, and the group’s clearly not in a rush to “prove” that, so openers Marcha Sob Marte and A distância não nos leva a saudade allow plenty of time for, say, drums to kick in on the former (6 minutes? Sure), or for the shoegaze layers to get to a saturation point on the latter. Even then, as mentioned, the songs aren’t necessarily about the destination so much as the journey, so we never quite get to a breaking point, making the eventual explosion of distortion towards the end of the Mogwai-esque Clausura dos que sentem impactful.

A couple of vocal tracks follow (adapting others’ lyrics / poems, I believe), and these are more traditionally structured songs in the sense that they start as they mean to go on, but still hang on to Indignu’s tendency to underplay things.

Umbra is, overall, a worthwhile addition to the quiet / loud post-rock instrumental crowd, but the group’s defining aspect – avoidance of a song’s climax – is difficult to qualify as an all-out positive one, and rather something to allow yourself to get used to. But once you have down the album’s cadence, it’s an easy disc to keep spinning.