“There’s a strong challenge in making an interesting instrumental song…To create something that will keep the listener engaged.” —Your right on the money Josh Lindstrom, drummer of Vancouver based Precious Fathers. Since I like quoting people in my reviews, here’s how the bands distributors (Scratch) describe their sound: an “instrumental post-rock shoegazer ensemble.” So basically this means either that their debut full length is amazing and will knock you flat, or it will meander like most instrumental post-rock shoegazer ensemble’s and bore me to death. Well, I’m glad to report that the band does neither and instead provide engaging, enjoyable [insert quote]. In fact, their instrumental passages are more engaging than those by other artists in the genre, coughchevreuilcough. But the shoegaze tag doesn’t really stick as I associate that term with dreampop which is a little more ethereal and engaging than the music found here (see Ride, MBV, Slowdive et cetera).I believe the Fathers have signed to BC based Blue Whale records since I have received this disc, and good for them. Apparently Precious Fathers have been selling out shows in BC and all three members have been dabbling into other projects with artists such as Destroyer, Loscil, Sparrow, the Battles, and others. It’s easy to hear why the band has been able to nestle themselves into the ranks of other quality players in their environment. Where other dreadful instrumental ensembles are content with noodling around on their instruments Precious Fathers instead seek distinct structure; all of the songs here are linear and there are some genuine highs and lows. Just for this fact I group the band with the better outfits of their type, for precious few of their kind are able to keep my attention.
It turns out these distinct sections are also colored tenderly by the groups interplay, even if all of those colors can be described as ‘warm’—this is a warm, breezy and spacious album. Opener “Prairie Train” begins things with an almost motorik melody (many songs here maintain that tempo) as horns wallow in and out. Unfortunately there wasn’t any info in the liner notes about who played what regarding the extra sounds on this disc. “Past It Pastures” is a good example of how tight the group is and it showcases a couple of breakdowns the likes of which can be found throughout other songs—“Snowshoes” and closer “Purple Mint” are other highlights. But really, in the end the band’s biggest strength is in their ability to keep a listeners attention and with this debut Precious Fathers prove themselves to be one of Canada’s better instrumental outfits. I recently heard the band is recording their next record and I am a tad excited. I hear it has vocals.