La Mar – La Mar – 82%

La Mar cover art

La Mar is a 4 piece from Caracas, Venezuela who bring to the table an interesting mixture of post-rock textures combined with post-metal intensity. Their debut self titled album, released earlier this year in May is 46 minutes long spanned across 9 tracks.  The thing I’ve really grown to like about La Mar is how complete their sound is. Every instrument is utilized to the fullest while creating their giant sound walls. By doing this the band is able to keep little things like intros and transitional passages fresh and creative. From the bassy intro of “Anchors” to the drumming clinics in tracks like “There Goes Life” and “I Will” where the drums fill most of the sound stage behind slow building instruments, this is far more than just a guitar-centric post-rock album, and that’s really refreshing.

“Anchors” is the intro track and does a great job setting the table for what’s to come with its opening bass line, moody guitar work and calm before the storm like synths that pierce in and out. When the track comes to full realization we’re treated to an all out post-metal finish. The first time I heard “There Goes Life” the first thought that came to mind is that this is what Russian Circles and Explosions in the Sky would sound like if you put them in a blender. This is a track that retains much of the EITS bright and optimistic song structure but performed in much heavier Russian Circles-esque tones. This is one of two tracks on the album that utilizes harmonizing “whoa” vocals and I have to say I’ve never seen a band do so much with minimalist vocals. They really do add a great layer of depth to the track.

“Voyage” opens with excellent electric-acoustic tones before delving off into playful synth work that is relaxing and plays right into the synergy of the album. Even though it’s a shorter track the guitar work found here is strong and extremely catchy. “I Will” is a curious little track that employs the use of samples over a bed of thick bass and prominent drums. Post-Metal guitar meets synths during the second half of the track and mesh together in  beautiful aggression. “Under The Weather” opens with a deceptive slow intro but is quickly met with piercing guitar work that leads way to something of a Rastafarian like jam. Complete with horns, I have to imagine that this is how a Reggae band would write a post-rock song. It’s definitely an interesting change of pace that to my knowledge is a first in post-rock.

Releash” is a furious track that feels a lot more like a Mastodon track. The straight forward guitar solos throughout the track are also very straight forward 70’s-80’s rock-ish. You can definitely tell that this is a band with all sorts of musical influence that isn’t afraid to experiment with different styles. “Victory” is an upbeat return to status quo and the post-rock realm. If you were looking for a twinkly and cutesy post-rock track than this is your jam. “Mirage” brings the energy down in its role of the more emotionally drawn out atmospheric track. This track is an excellent showcase for the plethora of tones found throughout the album. Finally the album wraps up with “Tides“, the longest track on the album at nearly nine minutes. After a few minutes of escalating post-metal heaviness the track gives way to more lighthearted and emotional finish as the band plays us out to a series of “Whoaaaa’s”.

As much as I enjoy this album I feel as if the band is still searching for its musical identity. Make no mistakes, the 4 members of La Mar are extremely talented musicians that are well capable of great things musically. The problem is that the band’s influences are far too distinguishable within their songs. That being said, La Mar has still managed to create a fun album and undoubtedly has my attention as they move forward in their young career. 11-8-12

Available for Free on bandcamp: http://la-mar.bandcamp.com/