The Direction of Last Things
They’ve been some very Intronauty boys
dB Rating: 9/10
Release Date: November 13th, 2015
Label: Century Media
When Intronaut released 2013’s Habitual Levitations, I suspected that the smoke hanging over the valley from which they’d previously emerged was of the recreational variety. Though Habitual Levitations was outfitted with Intronaut’s expected idiosyncrasies, it felt anachronistic and soft-focused. By comparison, The Direction of Last Things is hand-on-the-butt-of-its-gun alert, and utterly contemporary. This tonal shift is undeniably abetted by Devin Townsend’s production, which affords the record’s architecture both precision and abundant lighting for its interweaving corridors. That said, it is never clinical or remote. It provides structure that invites your exploration.
Opener “Fast Worms” is as able a typification of the band’s mastery as any. Bolt-action potency bleeds without seams into expanses of clean, diminished chords and Shadowfax-like polymeters, while the musicians lave from focal point to tributary and back again within the bat of an eye. It’s amazing, most especially because it’s so holistically sound. “Digital Gerrymandering” actually improves upon this template, while “In the Unlikely Event of a Water Landing” singlehandedly doubles the album purchaser’s ROI. The melodic vocals function much like a brass instrument, suspended on sustained single notes that are at points mismatched against the luster of their surroundings. Additionally, closer “City Hymnal” exits without really saying goodbye, leaving the listener waiting vainly for a postscript that ain’t coming—but hey, these are trifles.
Goodhearted people are fond of saying that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Well, here’s a query that proves them dead wrong: Could The Direction of Last Things possibly be album of the year?
Review originally printed in the December 2015 issue.