December 5, 2017

Shimmer sham

All that glitters is not a mirror ball trophy.

Keeping with what has become biennial ballyhoo, And So I Watch You From Afar sashayed into the studio last year to choreograph another record. After nearly scoring a perfect 10 for 2015 routine Heirs, the band busts a few new moves and revives some older ones in a toe-tapping freestyle guaranteed to steal the lead atop many “Best of 2017” lists. Where ASIWYFA get tripped up, though, isn’t execution. The fluidity that defined past pirouettes peters out through a series of faceplants the remainder of their rowdy rumba cannot overcome.

A jumble of jarring jigs, The Endless Shimmering flails ferociously about the floor as its limbs lurch independently from A-side to B-side – albeit with enough fancy footwork to impress Fred Astaire. Guitarists Rory Friers and Niall Kennedy cut a mean rug on torrid tango “Mullally,” which spots promenade positions similar to “Mend and Make Safe” and allows bassist Johnny Adger a rare moment in the limelight. “All I Need is Space,” “I’ll Share a Life” and the title track are finicky fox trots full of festive flourishes and telemark tricks, bolstering the center point for an offbeat ballet bereft of balance.

The opening pattern stumbles awkwardly, pushing aside drummer Chris Wee’s terrific thunder claps during the first half of “Three Triangles” in favor of recycled Gangs quicksteps. “Dying Giants” kills its own figure by replacing its high-brow hook, while “Terrors of Pleasure” would be more pleasing without the middle’s discombobulated dip. “A Slow Unfolding of Wings” is an abrupt heel turn, slowing to a whimsical waltz that’s so skillfully syncopated, it’s almost hypnotic… and the group’s most affective adagio since “All Hail Bright Futures.”

Marred by misaligned motions, The Endless Shimmering never slots a cohesive connection. ASIWYFA have always swayed to their own beat, but this dance is uncharacteristically unrefined.

Leave a reply