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9/10

*Shels - Plains Of The Purple Buffalo

Richard Cartey
Richard Cartey 3 July 2011 at 09.05

*Shels - Plains Of The Purple Buffalo Cover

An epic album in all senses, *Shels have produced something very impressive indeed...

This might be the sound of musical excellence. ‘Plains Of The Purple Buffalo’ from *shels is just a little bit epic – in all senses. From the quaking, majestic opener crashing through lulling ambience into foreboding post-rock and post-metal intensities, the album ebbs and flows with a cinematic aura using the throes of life as its palette. The transatlantic group’s sophomore LP, following their debut four years ago, is doused in strong, layered compositions so powerful that in places you’d be forgiven for assuming they belonged to the score of a film. Involving both Asian and Eastern influences, *shels use a progression and invention that doesn’t stray into pretension. That said, there is one niggle: though any band of a ‘post’-inclined nature rely upon passages of pensiveness, ‘Plains Of The Purple Buffalo’ could benefit from less atmospheric meandering – be it choral, brass or any other. While the destination is rewarding, they often disorientate the listener from the record’s flow and feeling. However, ‘Plains…’ is an overwhelmingly positive and uplifting experience, even despite its dark moments. And while it is broadly speaking a post-rock record, few discs can remain this stimulating for a full 76 minutes. This is a very impressive work.

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