Metavari’s debut EP, Ambling, radiates a musical warmth most releases nowadays lack. Too many instrumental albums are cold and overly digitized, but Metavari avoid sounding too clinical or synthesized by utilizing a combination of vintage keyboard and analog equipment, among other instruments. The lack of vocals in instrumental music can be off-putting to a first-time audience (although, let’s be honest, a lack of vocals can also be a true blessing when you are under constant bombardment from the asinine music and lyrics of Top 40 radio). The absence of vocals should in no way affect an album’s emotional stir; the underlying music creates the impact. Ambling’s four tracks suggest a sense of optimism that is left to be differently interpreted by each listener.
Many instrumental post-rock groups often dart between songwriting extremes. Basic melodies can cycle for far too long, until they border jam-band territory. Another instrumental rock annoyance that Metavari successfully avoid is the heavy reliance upon constant, overwhelming crescendos. Such overdone eruptions can completely kill an instrumental album’s mood and are frankly boring. The beauty of Ambling is that everything seems just about right, although it is certainly not a monotonous album by any means. Although I am certain much work with digital programming and other methods was performed to compose its multi-layered songs, Ambling boasts its own distinctive simplicity that will make the EP easily accessible to a wider audience, more so than albums released by Metavari’s counterparts.
However wrong it may be to pigeonhole Metavari as an instrumental post-rock group, the band overcomes any immediate stereotypes associated with the label by overhauling the classic elements of the genre. Sonic serenity, textured melodies and emotionally intense climaxes are present but uniquely delivered on each of the EP’s four tracks. Metavari’s Ambling serves as a fine example of what instrumental post-rock music truly should be: comforting, inspiring and, above all, challenging. (Sara Peterson)
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