On their new album Zwartgroen, the Netherlands-based group All Shall Be Well (And All Shall Be Well and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well) capture minimalist post-rock that feels infused with emotional power. The band has a long name, and the musicians behind this project more than back it up with their music!
The band’s compositions don’t quite get into Bohren & Der Club of Gore territory, but their songs do consistently feel quite restrained — and at the same time, every note feels like it’s shimmering with lovely, emotionally stirring illumination, as if listening to the album is a soundtrack for the experience of watching the sun rise after a rainy night. Imagining a rain-covered field of flowers gradually more illuminated by the yellowy sun seems easy while listening to this band’s new record, which swings between simmering ambiance and gentle waves of riffs. Listening through the album, on a broad level, feels somewhat like setting out to sea as a steady stream of waves lap up against the side of your boat. There’s a simple beauty and a broad and immersive power.
The group captures some powerful crescendos on Zwartgroen, but they also capture striking musical portraits of the journey on either side of those peaks, as if listeners have stopped to explore flowers growing along the side of a looming mountain. Many of the drum rhythms build with a rather regal-feeling flourish, with persistent, (mildly) intense builds, while “Beyond Us, Only Darkness” sticks to less direct and more mildly jazzy territory, helping establish the contemplative side.
The sound of Zwartgroen is always lush, like peeking through a thicket of dewy overgrowth – this element feels particularly front-and-center on track four, which clocks in at almost 11 minutes and is the longest track on the record. Although that song and other moments lean into more drawn out, musically windswept terrain, other moments, like the end of track one, build into briefly louder musical areas. Track six builds up into richly earned blasts of musical triumph, with a vibrant tapestry of rhythms that grow in intensity without ever losing their core sense of liveliness.
Zwartgroen consistently features a feeling of emotional drama, which might feel surprising considering the quite gentle vibe of the record. The melodies that All Shall Be Well… perform on the record simply feel compellingly beautiful, and they’ve placed them in a strikingly accessible, “everyday”-feeling format, like they’re unearthing beauty in the mundane.
Listen to Zwartgroen below!