The title may say one thing – but Parhelia crossed the precipice of change long ago.
It happened when they changed their name some years ago, and in so doing, freed themselves to make the kind of expansive post rock they’re now expert at.
Since then, the result has been albums of consistent high quality taking the listener on flights of gentle immagination and wistfulness backed up by some great instrumentation.
This is no exception.
I’m reminded hugely of The Gathering here on the opening tracks to this latest album, surprisingly from round about ‘Souvenirs’ and ‘The West Pole’, and of course post rock luminaries God Is An Astronaut, Sigur Ros and a dabble of Isis.
Both ‘Latitude By Longtitude’ and ‘Capricorn One’ have the kind of purity of guitar tone of those acts, which by the end of the second track gives way to a beautifully simple lead guitar line that is superbly poised.
It has the evocative quality of looking right up into the night sky that the artwork hints at, and having a little shooting star skirt across just for you.
‘Desert Of Thought’ is very drifty by comparison, as is ‘The Light That Guides Us’. ‘Magnetic North’ injects a bit more movement back into things, thanks to a freshly assertive bass that drives the song along.
‘Chemtrails’ is more definitively prog, with a nod to both Coheed & Cambria and Tool in there and some nice use of different tonalities in the guitars.
I’ve always rated Parhelia. They’re fantastic musicians who strive for tone, never showy and always judicious with their music. They have a dreamy quality thanks to clear as a bell clean guitars, and accompany the listener rather than intrude.
Perhaps it can get just a tad samey, but that’s maybe as a consequence of being an instrumental band. Very frequently in here I can hear the want of an Anneke Van Giersbergen or a Vinny Cavanagh to lift it to the angelic.
But that is not their chosen path. This music is absolutely full of atmosphere however and the band deserve continuing credit for ploughing a furrow that, if not exactly their own, they make their own.
There’s a corner of the night sky specifically reserved for this beautiful little album – listen and let it bring you there.
3.6 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 24/12/13