Esmerine – Mechanics Of Dominion

Mechanics Of Dominion is a mood-swinger, breaking through the sobering walls of tragedy and despair until it reaches a place of relief and the sunrise of a small smile. Co-founded by Rebecca Foon, a former member of Silver Mt. Zion, and Bruce Cawdron, a graduate of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Esmerine don’t hold anything back on their latest album; they’re at their most intense.

Stylistically, the music walks in and around the vaguely-drawn lines of modern classical music, but it veers a little along its line, because it also flirts with folk, baroque, rock and jazz. Despite the musical intoxication, with piano, drums, strings, marimba, glockenspiel and an amplified music box, it remains well and truly balanced, walking in a straight, composed line. Everything is well fleshed out, no matter where they decide to take the music, instead of being a quick, half-completed doodle. The instruments are well-rounded and used to the max, and the music is like a pit of rising lava when all of these elements come together, spilling over the top and engulfing any stuttering, impotent emotions, encompassing so much more than the sum of its parts.

In the beginning, the laments go unresolved. It cries itself to sleep at three in the morning, but as the music grows in momentum it’s able to rise up, carrying with it the necessary resolve and sheer determination to claw itself up off the ground and keep going, to once again dust itself off and come out all the stronger for its trials. Mechanics Of Dominion has a steely grit in its belly, but it’s also a playful listen; it’s not restricted or caged in any way. While realistic, it thinks of and prays for upbeat signs.

Middle-Eastern tones sizzle in the instrumental heat as the at-times-punishing sound coalesces into one. Sometimes exceptionally delicate, with the fingers barely touching the notes on the piano in a very gentle and sensitive way, the music can, in an instant, turn just like that. ‘Que Se Vayan Todos’ is a case in point. Strings join in on the tentative melody, but it soon strikes like a lone adder, unleashing its rock-oriented side in a beastly attack. As soon as the piano drops out, you know something’s brewing in the growing pocket of space, and the drums soon take advantage of it. Mechanics of Dominion is a rollercoaster of a record, the smoke pluming out of  a street racer’s burning tires. Their songcraft has been elevated once again.

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