UK quartet Lost in the Riots (LitR) are known for their energetic brand of post rock. They mix elements of hard rock and riff-happy hardcore in with the more traditional post rock soundscapes. Whilst this is by no means a new approach to the genre, LitR still manage to bring something fresh and exciting to it. Sure, you’ll still hear the classic post rock rise-and-fall-crescendo, but clean mathy noodling, soaring dual guitars, punishingly heavy drums, and even the odd surprising vocals have all made appearances in previous efforts. 2013 saw the band release their debut album ‘Stranger in the Alps’ – a title sure to bring a wry smile to Big Lebowski fans, and an album which was, for the most part, more instrumental rock than anything else. ‘Move On, Make Trails’ continues previous trends of genre tip toeing through post rock, math rock, instrumental rock, and so on – but there seems to be a much clearer genre distinction present here. The noodling is tamer, the heavy moments are less abrasive and more natural, and there is an overarching sense of something big happening. You get the unmistakable feeling of a post rock record – and frankly, it leads to a much more polished, and tighter sound.
The album opens with a short intro of pounding drums and an uplifting background choir to lead the listener by the hand seamlessly into the second track, ‘She Can’t See Us If We Don’t Move’ – a typically heavy song with a few playful clean breaks and a truly beautiful guitar line in the outro, soaring and dancing triumphantly over the other instruments. The rest of the album is soaked in this victorious feeling too, the band’s crescendos always evoking a sense of power and exuberance rather than misery, sadness, or anger – emotions post rock/ metal have become increasingly associated with. Not since *shels’ ‘Plains of the Purple Buffalo’ have I been instilled with such a sense of triumph. Certainly, the music isn’t as epic in its scope or size as the aforementioned *shels, nor is it musically similar – but the feelings of overwhelming success and joy are captured in much the same way, albeit in shorter, fleeting doses.
LitR are still guilty of sometimes falling into that age old post rock trap of sounding too samey. Even with their noodling and heavy breaks, the genre hopping isn’t really all that much of a hop – more of a tiny sidestep into a very similar sound. They are however, frequently saved by their impressive grasp of musical texture, and show a maturity in their crafting of uplifting and happy soundscapes. It’s just all that heavy riffing in between the delicate clean passages, trigger happy wankery, and cavalry-charge-heroic outros, can become much alike. Not to say the band don’t have a tight low fret riff game, it’s just that songs tend to blend together until you catch a glimpse of a marker that you recognise. In the majority of the cases, you’re happy enough to sit through these heavy sections because of the high energy that LitR put behind each song on ‘Move On, Make Trails’ – you might be lost (in the riots hurr hurr) for a minute as to where you are in the album, but you’ll still be nodding along in spite of this.
Lost in the Riots have put out a very solid record, and it’s a shame that like its predecessor, it’s likely to go criminally underlistened. Songs like ‘She Can’t See Us If We Don’t Move’ and ‘Canyons’ would be celebrated anthems if they were from higher profile groups. It’s really no surprise when you check the bands’ influences on their Facebook page, as ‘Move On, Make Trails’ sees the band do their best And So I Watch You From Afar impression, and come off sounding like a happier version of Maybeshewill. These are big shoes to fill, but rest assured Lost in the Riots are still growing.