In a music scene overrun with convoluted titles such You Say Clap Your Hands We Say Yeah Yeah Yeah's (is that right?) it's a joy to review this album called A Hat. It would be such a shame if it's brief title was the only reason this record was a joy to review and thankfully it isn't. Following on from their 2005 album I Felt Nothing At All, A Hat is a smoldering powerhouse of instrumental muscle very much in the same vein as Tortoise or Explosions In The Sky but has a healthy spattering of Battles as well.
As if making up or the album's title these songs are anything but brief. Not counting the first intro the shortest song here is over eight minutes and the other 3 are all around the 14 minute mark and for a band that produce uber serious, post-rock marathons they lighten the load with their titles. The second track builds on airy, spacious melodies but gets progressively louder and harder until it finally bears its teeth in pounding guitars and drums, would you believe it's called Quit Touching My Ass?
Hand or Finger? is less sprawling and is more immediately accessible both in its length and spiky guitars and pounding drums. The album finishes on a long-haul of swelling guitars and wave upon wave of crashing symbols that suddenly drops away in place of a home straight of funky bass lines and delicate electronics, and all this under the title The Young Ted Danson.
Each song plays like a soundtrack to its own movie. They change tempo repeatedly, sometimes taking their time and sometimes giving out no warning at all. A strange sense of narrative drifts through them that really holds your attention. This way they maintain the lyrical structure but stay purely instrumental.
Souvaris have a healthy mix going on here. In formal terms they fit perfectly with their post-rock counterparts but with playfulness and a clever ear for the pop hook they manage to pull themselves out of the self-indulgent fog that often lingers for too long in this genre. There is a refreshing sense of irony about this album that if it were a person would be fun to hang around with but would also be capable of great depth. They'd back you up in a fight but could quite easily have caused it in the first place.