Pray For Sound
Everything Is Beautiful
(I Am Shark / AMFM Records / Dunk!Records)
Pray For Sound’s third full length LP arrives in the form of the masterfully composed Everything Is Beautiful. From cacophonous drumming crescendos and breathless bombardments of jarring guitars through to the more subtle soundscapes and melodies that evoke undercurrents of Mogwai or Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the orchestrated malevolence of this album is breathtaking.
Conceptually Everything Is Beautiful is a juxtaposition between the dark and light both identifiable in the tones and textures of the music as well as the song’s titles. The opening track titled “The Ringing In Your Ears” is in reference to band founder Bruce Malley’s hearing affliction. After an operation in 2011 to remove a large destructive cyst in his left ear, despite doctors’ best efforts, he was left with severe hearing loss, tinnitus, and recurring pain. To many musicians and songwriters such a development would be a death sentence, but Malley used his ordeal as inspiration. This is evident in the first five songs of this record which represent the gloomier melancholic side of the album while the latter is filled with more buoyant and melodic accents. The contrasting attitudes of ‘Everything Is Beautiful’ where not immediately apparent on the initial listen however the clandestine nature of this is what creates the undeniable charm of this album.
The production quality is another strong factor, the album sounds remarkable start to finish. Certain aspects of the instrumentation such as the drumming which is utilised to create heightened tension can at times be a little misleading, in spite of this the patient listener is rewarded with pleasing ambient undertones and subtle acoustic riffs where an explosion of dissonance may have been anticipated. The pop aspirations of songs such as “Congratulations Your Alive” and “’Til The Summer Comes Again” are welcomed towards the concluding part of the record helping reinforce the optimistic detachment of the albums foundation.
Unlike many other post rock albums the shifts on this record involve actual movement rather than pivots which help encompass the understated cohesion. Pray For Sound have not only effectively communicated the dichotomy of light and dark without a single spoken word, they have created an ambitious and exceptional work of art that is more rewarding with every listen.