3 out of 5
Label: Magic Bullet
Produced by: RLYR (?)
I was never going to not like RLYR. Pelican earned a fan for life with their first EP, and I’ve eagerly checked out anything with which the various members – such as guitarist Trevor de Brauw – have been involved. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve loved every offshoot, or even every Pelican album, but… I’ll own it. I’ll listen it. I’ll like it by default, even when I don’t like it, acknowledging that I can appreciate whatever is being attempted even if it’s not for me. That’s what happens when you floor me to the extent Pelican did with that EP, and the subsequent album, and the multiple live shows I saw them at at the time (live shows being a rarity for me even then, before my total isolation dayzz).
So here we have RLYR featuring de Brauw, and then you’re going to toss in some Russian Circles bass and Locrian drums, theoretically creating an awesome fusion of experimental proggy rocky moody metal, and I am more than sold.
Delayer releases. It’s okay. I like it; I own it; I listen to it. It’s okay.
My thought here, from total conjecture, is that this would be an outlet for de Brauw and his peers to go after something a bit simpler and more streamlined than their various current projects’ expectations may have encouraged or allowed, cueing the relatively straight-forward rawk of opener Slipstream Summer. But: the “side project” vibe comes into play, as this seems somewhat close to Pelican territory; it doesn’t quite feel like our players have crafted something new, so much as decided to jam on a track together. It’s a fun song, only lacking in any necessarily original twist; it is a bonus track. The followup title track – kind of an experimental mash of noise – furthers this sensation, as it doesn’t establish what RLYR is about. Again, the track works, and is maybe hewing more toward Locrian territory now. If we’re going to get a mini-album of sounds like songs, I’m still down, though my expectations – yeah, I came with ’em too, sorry – are tempered.
And then Reconductor barrels out of the speakers. Riffy, catchy rock and progressive metal splash together with stop-start awesomeness, melding Slipstream’s fun carefreeness to a bit more weight; more structure. It’s one of the best Pelican-adjacent tracks I’ve ever heard, save the similar ones in this vein that would appear on the superior RLYR followup, Actual Existence. I’m reconverted to raving fan.
…Closer Descent of the Night Bison is again a more familiar sounding de Brauw track, pushing its 20+ minute runtime for an expansive, Mogwai buildup to a satisfying, concluding clatter. It’s on par with the other okay tracks here, leaving us with Delayer – one totally-worth-it track aside – being an okay release.