Sunlight Ascending – Leaving My Waiting Room – 94%

Leaving My Waiting Room cover art

Sunlight Ascending are a Michigan-based post-rock band who recently partook in the growing trend of using Kickstarter as a way to finance their latest release. ‘Leaving My Waiting Room’ managed to successfully hit it’s financing goal and as a result Postrockstar has one final album to review as we say goodbye to 2012. The unsigned 5-piece band, who have played over 200 shows in their 5 or so years together, can be classified as a straight forward post-rock band who have a knack for experimentation in the more ambient or quieter side of the genre while still occasionally dabbling with shoegaze stylings.

Standing tall at over an hour-long over 12 tracks, the album opens with “The Dhanbad Rails” following the short intro track “Reductio Ad Absurdum”. Pulsating drums and low-lying bass lead into an upbeat and fast paced track that eventually comes a crawl halfway through amidst what would be considered “pretty” guitar work before burning out in a sparkling finale. The first few minutes of this song alone can tell you that this is a much more mature Sunlight Ascending. “Vladdie” brings the energy down and is a relaxing number with a gorgeous atmospheric aura and acoustics. “Gleaming Pole” also follows the quieter route as a lush soundscape with a consistent beat as a nice touch to keep it being too ambient. The beat serves a second purpose as it’s used to transition into “Multivac“, which is where the album really starts to gain in intensity. This track really gives off a strong Russian Circles vibe around the 2 minute mark when the heavy distortion kicks in and that comparison is further justified by the drumming patterns later in the track.

“The Wind Factory” is one of my favorite tracks on the album but the transition to this track from “Multivac” is somewhat awkward. “The Wind Factory” is a straight-laced post-rock track driven by multiple guitar layers that compliment one another beautifully. “Picking Up Where We Left Off” is by far and away my favorite track on the album, starting off with airy guitar work which slowly builds into a sea of spiraling crescendo based guitar work before closing strong with a lightly distorted high energy finish. The song is essentially a sampler pack of all the amazing tones found throughout the album. “They’re Lonelier On The Outside” is a short yet unique track that uses the sound of a wind up clock that tics throughout the track. I’ve always been a fan of weird, unusual samples throughout music and this is as clever as it gets.

Kalkaska” is a cheery guitar driven track complimented by strong drumming and high-pitched crescendos. After a short lull in the middle of the song it goes on to a make a huge comeback in a picture perfect post-rock build up and finale. A smooth transition leads us into “Gamma” which quickly elevates the sound levels with looming guitars and either deep bass or an extremely downtuned guitar that occupies the front of the mix. “Inamovable” is a heartfelt song dripping with pure emotion featuring soft and sensual piano work. essentially this track feels like a perfect blend between The American Dollar and Mono, which I’d like to think is as high of a compliment as I could possibly give this song. The title track is the closing track on the album and is a track that comes out with guns blazing and is high energy right from the opening moments. I feel like this track is something of a retrospective of the whole album and showcases a little bit of each of the band’s different sounds and elements. The guitar work is tireless and the song is well-built, as is almost all the work found on the album. All in all the track makes for a real satisfying closer.

‘Leaving My Waiting Room’ is a much more focused sounding album when compared to the band’s 2010 release ‘You Don’t Belong Here’ and if anything sounds more like a continuation of their even earlier 2009 work ‘All the Memories, All at Once’. Sunlight Ascending create the sort of music that just leaves you in a good mood regardless of how bad your day may have been. For that the band gets big ups in my book. This is Sunlight Ascending‘s best work to date and is an album I certainly wouldn’t sleep on. 12/31/12

Available for $10 on bandcamp: http://sunlight-ascending.bandcamp.com/album/leaving-my-waiting-room

Sunlight Ascending on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sunlightascending