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Pelican - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - July 16 2013 (Live Review)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013 Written by Ben Bland

With a new album finally on the horizon, Pelican returned to the Brudenell Social Club with a renewed sense of purpose. Last year’s ‘Ataraxia/Taraxis’ EP was a step in the right direction for sure, but with an all-too-brief running time it also felt somewhat anticlimactic for fans who have been craving a full-length follow-up to 2009’s ‘What We All Come to Need’.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Immutable Dusk, the first track from the forthcoming ‘Forever Becoming’, has received a rapturous reception. Everyone at the Brudenell also seemed desperate to rapturously welcome Pelican to the stage as well, to the extent that, unfortunately, some were a little dismissive of JK Flesh’s support slot.

Mixing the industrial rage that continues to make Godflesh so vital with the more dance-oriented music he has been involved in with the Blood of Heroes, this is Justin K. Broadrick at perhaps his most self-indulgent, but equally it’s pulverisingly brilliant.

The only real complaint that can be made is that material this malevolent could do with being a bit louder in order to block out any remaining strains of background chatter.

Pelican are that bit louder, but then their more riff-centric music is effectively a force of nature. The grinding machinery of JK Flesh’s dystopian post-industrial landscape is left behind for one where mountains are levelled and rebuilt in sweeping movements. It’s music at its most grandiose, and there aren’t any unnecessary symphonic sections in earshot.

Where Pelican have always truly excelled is in making their expansive approach to the post-rock/metal canon intensely listenable. These songs are genuinely catchy odysseys through the art of riff writing. Even though they refuse to perform any material from their highly rated first two albums, the likes of The Creeper and Parasite Colony are still delightful enough to raise plenty of cheers.

Pelican’s music may be capable of displaying great emotion, but it’s also a lot of fun, and that’s what is really emphasised by this set. It’s the sound of the band acknowledging that there is more than a hint of joy to their music, unlike so many ultra-serious instrumental bands.  



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