Pray for Sound
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Pray for Sound

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Concept albums are almost always well… conceptual. In the world of rock they’re nearly always some kind of exercise in imagination, and frequently a fairly abstract one.

Monophonic is about Bruce Malley’s struggle with hearing loss.

It’s impossible for me to understand what he must have gone through. Hearing loss, tinnitus and chronic pain would be awful enough to deal with for anyone to deal with, but for a musician, to have the sense the relates most directly to your craft falter and turn against you is unfathomable. On a personal level, I salute Bruce for dealing with his medical and resultant emotional struggles and turning it into an album, that takes something special.

Monophonic itself is pure cinematic post-rock. Bruce basically proves himself to be a one man-Russian Circles here. This is just beautiful music, powerful and quietly gentle in equal measure. It’s a virtuoso performance, as good as anything I’ve heard in the genre. It’s shimmers and pummels in equal measure. - To Eleven


The name of this artist, Pray For Sound, is very poignant. Upon a quick bit of research, I learned why the project was given this moniker, which gave me a much greater sense of appreciation for the music. For the creator of PFS, Bruce Malley, has suffered greatly with hearing loss, tinnitus and ear pain, rendering him partially deaf in the left ear. This album reflects the raw emotion and desperation going through the creators head – he is clinging on to the joy of sound,of music, before it potentially leaves him for good something so rudimentary and necessary it can resonate with us all. The result is a beautifully constructed, to-the-point release, entitled Monophonic. Scott Kelly of Neurosis once said that music is the ultimate communicator, and that words fall short every time. This is reinforced in the post rock genre, since a great deal of the music is instrumental. Malley needs no words to describe his emotions as he can do it so well with his instrumental ability.

The album begins with Stereophonic huge, bombastic chords give way to delicate guitar interplay, building up to a crescendo of epic proportions. The album flows so well that it often feels like one big song for example, the piano melody in Tympanoplasty logically following on from the last few notes in the preceding song. The first part of Retrogression floors you with its haunting melodies, whereas the second is a display of crunching guitars and thumping drum beats. It is dominated by minor key riffage that contrasts the beauty of the first half, stepping out of the typical post rock featured on the rest of the record. This makes the whole album an interesting, dynamic listen which succeeds in retaining your interest throughout with ease.

Hats off to Malley – he plays all instruments on this record with aplomb, multi layered guitars, gorgeous keyboards and interesting drum patterns. It’s truly a delight to listen to, being massaged by beautiful symphonies that simultaneously sadden and inspire hope. The music achieves the same kind of glorious catharsis as post rock greats like Explosions in the Sky and This Will Destroy You, particularly in album closer, the title track. It’s a perfect way to end this awesome but perhaps a touch too short journey – having said that, there are plenty of post rock albums out there that suffer from being incondite, so perhaps the length of this release is to its advantage.

The music sits comfortably in the post rock category, with the occasional hint of metal, such as in Retrogression (Part 2). It’s not going to surprise you with its originality – anyone who’s already given The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place a listen will be familiar with the light and shade dynamics and melodic sensibilities.

Overall, the albums stunning, transcendental melodies that sooth and inspire make it a must listen for post rock enthusiasts. Here’s hoping that Malley has more of this kind of genius up his sleeve. - Emurg


Discography

Monophonic - September 2012
23:55 [single] - March 2013

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