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New music we like: Pelican

We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club. Fortunately, we end up liking some of them. In Playlisted, we share our latest recommendations.

Album: Ataraxia/Taraxis by Pelican (out April 10 on Southern Lord)

Press play if you like: Thunder, lightning, the way of loving that’s frightening

Some background: Pelican should be familiar to most contemporary fans of heavy music—either directly, or via one of the countless bands the Chicago-born outfit has influenced. Now stationed at various points around the country, Pelican’s members haven’t been very active lately. After years of heavy touring and recording, the group released its latest full-length, What We All Come To Need, in 2009—a solid disc that nonetheless showed some signs of fatigue.


Pelican’s next album, as yet untitled, is due in early 2013—but to get the momentum rolling, the band is unleashing a new, four-song EP titled Ataraxia/Taraxis. Concise yet sprawling, it’s the best release from the instrumental post-metal act in many a moon. From the textured sludge and semi-acoustic hypnosis of its two title tracks to the galloping, lunging melody of “Lathe Biosas” and “Parasite Colony,” the EP is a moody yet passionate mutation of Pelican’s signature war cry.

As focused as Ataraxia/Taraxis is, it came together across a distance. According to guitarist Trevor de Brauw: “After our U.S. tour in 2009, we decided it was time to slow the pace of the band. Our persistent touring was taking its toll on our morale, and some of us had family matters to tend to. Since we've been operating as a long-distance band since 2006, not touring meant that we now had a very little time to work on new material.

“We had two tunes that were holdovers from the last album that slowly came together in rehearsals for the few shows we played in 2010 and 2011. We wanted to record and kind of clear the coffers before jumping into a new full-length. As we started gearing up to record those two songs, [bassist] Bryan [Herweg] and I started hashing out some other ideas. We bounced them around and ended up building songs entirely from sending files back and forth in a bicoastal collaboration.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done a record where we weren’t all in the studio at the same time. Approaching the recording in pieces instead of as a unit made the whole process very detail-oriented on a level we perhaps haven’t been before. I also think we happened upon some compositions we never would have otherwise, by doing the songs that were complete studio constructions.”


Try this: Pelican and Southern Lord have teamed up with The A.V. Club to offer this exclusive debut of all four songs from Ataraxia/Taraxis in their entirety.


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