Another Second Chance — the latest album from the Finnish instrumental post-rock band Baulta — feels starkly poignant. The title, with its idea of pushing ahead through a thicket of tension, nicely hints at the journey on the record.
Although the riffing definitely gets heavy, there’s a consistent contemplative vibe in the rhythms, and there’s also a steady blanket of subtle brightness across the whole experience, like sunlight slowly growing over the top of a grassy hill. The rhythms feel weighted, but not downtrodden, and the instrumentals all feel underpinned by power that makes these elements flourish. The sound is thick, but the music feels vibrant, like a wind-rustled patch of glistening greenery in the morning sunlight.
The music isn’t all brightness. The meditative rhythms enact a feeling of solitude within the record’s central perspective. Baulta, who perform with largely rather warm tones, include invitingly familiar post-rock heights — their music repeatedly crescendos — but they seem to sort of extend these musical peaks into an atmosphere of sound. Their progressions feel very smooth, and the transitions between the more starkly intense segments and their surroundings feel quite organic.
Notably, Baulta generally don’t end their journeys on particularly intense notes. After building up and then re-building up to a greater degree from the midpoint, “Long May Reign,” which closes the five-track album, ends on a restrained and gentle note, solidifying the sense that personal contemplation drives the record. In some of the rhythms, there’s somewhat of a feeling of tension — on “My Golden Cage,” the album’s third track, these feelings build into a sense of desperate passion — and these subtle undercurrents make the central perspective feel like pondering loss while alone on a hillside.
On “My Golden Cage” in particular, the crescendoing segments feels underpinned by resounding, shimmering force. The music’s brightness is unmistakable, but so is an undertow in the pointedly dramatic rhythms.
Drums often feel quite prominent in the mix, and that element’s presence helps build the music’s feeling of brightening persistence. On the flip side, “Hardly Even Here” feels pointedly atmospheric, amplifying the album’s emotively hazy side, as though capturing a wispy intermingling of hope and a more strained longing. Another Second Chance strikingly encapsulates this complicated and tenuous emotional space.
Tempos across the music waver from the mid-range riffing that opens the album on “Third” down to slower moments, but there’s always a feeling of emotive force. The melodies feel pensive from pretty much the very beginning, establishing the album’s direction right from the get-go. Another Second Chance is a stirring piece of inwardly illuminating emotional exploration.
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