The first of January always feels a bit like a sunday morning. My body and mind refuse to wake up. My feet are willing to take me to the sofa but no further. I turn on the heat, make myself some coffee and look outside where the last snow glimmers in the winter sunlight. I check the latest review submissions and select a promising post-rock e.p. from Soeyoez, a quintet from Ghent (Belgium) that was founded about four years ago after two of the members quit their former bands. There's five songs on 'A Sea Of Light Departing', lasting between three and seven minutes, perfect for a morning like this.
While the basis for Soeyoez' music is definately post rock, this band takes it a bit further. Opener 'SOYUZ 04JB-14F' sounds more like a downtempo ambient tune and somehow reminds me of a project like Boards Of Canada. Yet, on a track like 'Atlanta' Soeyoez digs into the world of new wave and dares to take it as far as incorporating a gothic rock edge. The restrained vocals and the up-tempo drums give the song a Joy Division meets Explosions in the Sky feel, complete with the dark grittyness this music breathes.
As with several other post-rock bands, shoegaze seems to have been a huge influence on Soeyoez' sound. The overall atmosphere is gloomy and a bit eerie. The songwriting is excellent and the vocals surprisingly comfortable. Vocals in post rock are rare and often do more harm than good but that's not the case here. Here the vocals serve as a narrator in the murky universes Soeyoez creates. I feel a lot more variation in the songs, mainly because these guys have put a lot of different influences and experiences in their music. There's even some hard rock and doom elements in 'When The Sound Grows Too Loud'.
And yet, Soeyoez sounds very Belgian. It's something that is difficult to explain. A lot of Belgium based bands have this noisy, scrapy sound. I've heard this sound in a lot of bands before and it always surprises me that these musicians are able to incorporate it into their own sound. It gives the music a familiar feeling. Soeyoez seems to be the first post rock band that can do this and I absolutely love it. But maybe that's just me and if so 'Behind A Wall of Memories' is the perfect title for this sound.
So, there you have it. Once again an interesting band from Ghent succeeds in surprising me with a high quality and well varied post rock album. I don't know (yet) if Soeyoez is able to produce this live in a convincing way but if so, they surely are one of the most promising Flemish acts today. I can highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this album, especially if you're an open minded person that loves going on a musical journey once in a while. Great work!