Need a Reason to Post-Rock?

book of hours

Like their music, Not to Reason Why has become a melodic crescendo of success since the release of their newest EP, The Book of Hours. Having only released the album not even six months ago, their local fame and success have grown exponentially in the post-rock scene.

The group originates from Petaluma, CA and has been together for roughly 4 years. Their members consist of Ian Simpson on guitar, Navid Manoochehri on bass, Paul Haile on Drums and Lauen Haile on piano. They have previously released one other EP in 2007, Who Wants Flowers When They’re Dead? and 2009′s full length album, Would You Hug Fire? With the release of The Book of Hours, they’ve shaken the foundations of instrumental rock at its core.

The EP presents three finely tuned tracks: “Good Morning,” “Good Evening,” and “Goodnight.” While each song bares a melody to match and a style that accents the time of day the song represents, they also leave plenty of room to expand on and experiment with their sound.

 “Good Morning” does well to paint the picture of a sunrise, highlighting each portion of the picture with an instrument and the power of how these individual components come together. This particular track sets a good example for the band’s basic style. The piano sets the foundation while the guitar and drums control the volume and tempo of the song. The bass in turn holds them together like a low and bellowing glue.

In most instrumentals, bands find it necessary to incorporate large crashing breakdowns in order to keep the attention of the listener, but with Good Afternoon, they do well to keep a steady theme of peace throughout the song. The light incorporation of strings keeps the ambience almost floating above your head. It’s the addition of those strings that helps separate one track from the other. Each song is its own, but still blends into the theme of the album, like the passing of time throughout the day.

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The final track, almost totaling at fourteen minutes in length, ends the EP with a stunning display of that truly moves the genre forward. In the song “Goodnight,” there’s a tremendous build up around the ending of the musical day that’s been played out over the last two tracks. The piano begins to sound like starlight and there are moments of harmonious acapellas that take the listener by surprise and completely moves the song in a new direction. It’s this sort of creativity that sets Not to Reason Why apart from other groups.

Often the group has been compared to more popular post-rock bands such as Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai, due to their skill in building musical tension and releasing it with crashes of pounding drums and distorted, grimy guitar thrashing all while keeping a consistent heartbeat in the deep rhythm brought on by the bass/piano fusion. Each aspect of their sound is calculated and cared for and yet full of emotion and strength. The addition of orchestral strings and wind instruments makes the ambience their most memorable trait. Through the combination of these elements, the band leaves listeners’ ears ringing and minds humming along with the flow of their creation.

For those who have yet to listen to The Book of Hours or even Not to Reason Why altogether, I would strongly suggest putting on a pair of good headphones and tuning in. These guys are definitely worth the listen.

-David Collins

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