[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fetoksX1VDE&h=25] It's pretty rare to find an album that's both as varied and consistently brilliant as this. Leeds-based quintet Vessels harness an arsenal of gear to create textural, fluid post-rock on Helioscope, a record that is leaps and bounds ahead of their previous work.
The drumming is the clear focal point here, often left free to explore blistering polyrhythms on top of echoing waves of tremolo guitar. The beats do far more than hold together the progressive players, with drum parts reacting to every movement on the record. The instrumentation is completely complimentary with the help of crisp, scrutinized production. All five members support each other with nuanced playing, through the heaviness of "The Trap" or on their near-Radiohead impersonation "Meatman, Piano Tuner, Prostitute."
"Later Than You Think" places a vaguely latin groove under guitar ambiance, before releasing itself into a crescendo held together by a simple keyboard motif. Vessels reach the end of each song in an equally unorthodox fashion as the last, making each track a single movement for this dynamic piece of textural post-rock.
It's definitely "The Trap" that encapsulates this quality best. The instrumental song is arguably the best thing on Helioscope, where some of the most intense moments on the record seem to rise from silence all on their own. While the record's sparse vocals add variety, Vessels are most interesting when no one's singing.
What's most exciting about this record is how new it sounds. It doesn't rely on tricks specific to any one genre, instead creating something truly progressive. With this much talent and chemistry, it's only a matter of time before they venture across the pond.