Opening song “Bliss in Concrete” plays out as an exercise of “how many different variations can we play within a five minute time frame”, a good form of practice to build and flesh out ideas, but not to introduce an album. Luckily, Pelican makes up for it with back to back sprawling, melodic compositions that reach inspiring levels of drive. Title track “City of Echoes” and “Spaceship Broken – Parts Needed” are not merely band calisthenics, but epic movements exploring the possibilities within each song.
This has always been a band that refuses to relinquish its sound to a single genre, and it proves itself resilient once again with “Winds With Hands.” Pelican could have plugged in, turned up the reverb and turned this number out, but that would have sounded like the rest of the record. Acoustic guitars in hand, drums nowhere to be found, the group applies vicious metal mentalities to the pleasantries of acoustic strumming. Perhaps this is a dedication to Pelican's windy city hometown, Chicago?
With its latest release, Pelican is not a bird of flight. It has clipped its wings, keeping its webbed-feet to the pavement. That was a horrible analogy, but my point is this is not an instrumental record seeking soaring melodies that break apart the clouds. It is a jackhammer in the pavement that occasionally grows wings, weaving through the mid-range of skyscrapers, looking for the next spot to touch down and tear shit up.