Locomotora – This Very Holding Back

This very holding back cover art

Artist Locomotora
Album ‘This Very Holding Back’
Genre Post-rock / Instrumental
Buy/DL Bandcamp
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Label Independent
Release Jan 25 2013
Rating Very Good

Though their debut album, ‘Canopy’, was released (somewhat unassumingly) during the tail end of 2011, it wasn’t until mid-way through last year that French post-rock newcomer Silent Whale Becomes A Dream became the most talked-about band in post-rock communities and forums across the web. They were the new Mono. To some, they were a better Mono. ‘Canopy’ was more Mono than Mono‘s own ‘For My Parents’ turned out to be. Mono.

But then people went quiet about ‘Canopy’ for a while; presumably because they were all busy listening to it. But this isn’t a review for some new Silent Whale Becomes A Dream release (who knows how long we will have to wait for that). This time, the honourary Mono album of 2013 award goes to… Locomotora, with their album ‘This Very Holding Back’.

It isn’t as straight-forward as that, however. Mono are a band of gaps. In the mid-00’s they shifted from their heavily guitar-centric “wall-of-noise” sound to a more serene and beautiful sonic fingerprint, whereby dramatic strings were growingly prominent and guitars were used to channel elegance and emotion rather than power and aggression. It just so happens that bands such as Silent Whale Becomes A Dream and Locomotora are here to fill those gaps, by playing music that embraces drama and beauty whilst still maintaining a dark and at times sorrowful quality that’s contrary to Mono‘s recent displays of romance and optimism. Locomotora are different to Silent Whale Becomes A Dream in that their focus is less on showcasing the power of textural guitar-playing, and more on composing a rich tapestry of sound, with mournful strings and songs that are both immediate and exploratory.

On the surface the tag “Mono clone” might seem appropriate when describing this band, however tonal differences are often what make an album stand on its own, a notion to which ‘This Very Holding Back’ is a striking testament.