Eschewing the deeply poignant or self-reverential album titles that instrumental post-rock bands tend to gift their albums, London quartet The Fierce & The Dead opt for the ungainly band in-joke (we presume) on their debut album. With If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecombe, it’s tempting to lump The Fierce & The Dead into the amateur basket and gaze at them in disdain, but if you did, you’d be making a regrettable mistake.
The instrumental post-rock genre is a tough one to pull off convincingly, to not come across as a band adrift without a singer, all the while sounding inventive enough to hold a listener’s attention. With our pop-music ingrained minds, we need a chorus to cling to which oftentimes can be a hard habit to break. The Fierce & The Dead succeed as masters of their own invention in ways that bands like Explosions In The Sky and Mogwai (based on past releases) have forgotten how.
Tensions build and release on “Flint” and follow through on “Part 2” as basslines map out terrain and exploratory guitar figures crackle and chime in a post-rock meets shoegaze delight. The Explosions In The Sky effect is felt strongly on “The Wait”, a supple two minute piece with textured guitar interplay and what seems like a simple, understated footstomp beat. They rise up to enact the “fierce” part of their name in “Landcrab”, an angry bass-driven hustle that keeps the mood from getting too staid. With no gratuitious 8 minute epics weighing it down, If It Carries On Like This... succeeds by not being too ambitious, by not trying to cram too many or too few ideas onto each track.
It’s the diversity in material and the strong band dynamic that make the album such an engrossing listen. With such versatility in instrumentation and clarity in sound, the subtle percussive components truly stand out. Throwing in wild card bursts of Terry Edwards on saxophone on “Daddie’s Little Helper” is sheer experimental funk-divergent genius. Closing track “Andy Fox” is weighted with such heavy portent (and another unrestrained performance from Edwards) that it brings to mind Clint Mansell’s remarkable soundtrack for the movie “Moon”. If that’s not a sentence you’d ever expect to read in a record review, you’d be well advised to seek this album out.