City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Review: Vessels, 17 October 2009

By Euan Andrews - Posted on 23 October 2009

Show Details
Sneaky Pete's

“Post-rock” has become the catch-all term for so much instrumental guitars-bass-drums music which deviates away from the standard rock’n’roll template. First coined in the mid-nineties to describe the somnambulistic midnight rumbles of Labradford, “post rock” now seems to be a genre unto itself. Mogwai and Sigur Ros. Tortoise and Battles. Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions In The Sky. They’ve all been, at times, thrown under this loose term and probably disputed being there. 

Vessels are a five-piece from Leeds and they seem to have listened to all the above-named bands. In doing so, they’ve created a post-rock smorgasbord of a sound.

In one single number, they can segue from epic Sigur Ros stratospherics to Tortoise-style funk noodles; from the ragged guitar blazes of Mogwai to Battles’ interlocking rhythms.

There is a whole lot of influence going on in there but, it must be said, little in the way of originality. Vessels are musical magpies, throwing ideas into grab-bags and pulling them back out again one by one.

But, that’s not to deny the high quality of musicianship and performance on show. The five of them trade instruments, pull pleasing “rock-out” shapes and at times build up a head of steam to produce truly incandescent burnout crescendos to songs.

A decent-sized crowd in Sneaky Pete’s are also hugely appreciative. Particular mention must go to a small group of hysterically enthusiastic Americans who seem to be discovering the actual concept of music for the first time. Bless ‘em. A cacophonic finale involving an extra mini drum kit almost seals the deal.

In many ways, Vessels have provided a hugely pleasing hour of music and deserve to be applauded. But they need to carve out their own musical sound and direction before they join the rightly lauded ranks of their influences.