Via sprawling modern post-rock, Estonia’s Ocean Districts transport the listener to a strange environment where boundaries between musical styles and our reality and that of their newest album Doomtowns blend and converge.
The stylistic flourishes that mark the effort allow the record to maintain a unique and striking narrative sense. On the one hand, there are a number of audio samples scattered across the record telling the apparent story of a detonation of a nuclear weapon. The samples float along in the background at times, like pictures flashing across a screen that communicate as much via their fleeting nature as via their actual content. There’s no sense of fantasy or larger than life storytelling on Doomtowns, which perhaps drives an aspect of their narrative that much more forcefully — the world the band presents is in tatters.
The album’s blast-marked cover art itself supports the direction the audio samples take the record, and altogether it’s fascinating, really, how Ocean Districts have managed to skillfully incorporate truly every aspect of their latest effort into its overall “message,” which circulates around nuclear testing in the World War II era. Ocean Districts feel attuned to the nature of their music reaching beyond the strict practical limits of the sound itself.
While often lengthy post-rock tracks feel wistful and float along, here, Ocean Districts take a somewhat different route. They take that element of fantasy and open flowing feeling that marks a familiar post-rock framework and transport it into what feels like a modern skeleton. They don’t just tidy up the edges, although their work does feel somewhat — at least comparatively — compact. In between the end posts of their songs, they also incorporate a natural progression from repeating and only slightly shifting open ended music into a collection of somewhat darker, more dynamic tones that serve to fill in the colors of the band’s story.
While other post-rock undertakings feel very tied to the natural world, this effort, via its partial volatility, feels like the post-rock of the post-industrial age. Doomtowns tells our story — the story of those working under the weight of modern violence in all its forms… and the doomed towns we may find ourselves in as time progresses.
Check it out below via Spotify