Pillars Live at #dnk2019 by Mats Lam
Following their highly regarded 2017 debut Of Salt and Sea, Indianapolis’ PILLARS set out to challenge and ascend beyond their previous accomplishments on both ends of the spectrum. Lauded for their ability to deftly balance patient melodic passages with propulsive, fiery riffing, the songs had an immediacy and sense of direct purpose that shook post-rock listeners to attention. For their sophomore release, the band demonstrates an ever-sharpening focus on a profound exploration of the sounds and textures they’ve become known for, expanding both upon their dreamier meditations as well as the roaring immensity of their heaviest escalations. Cavum sees a version of PILLARS that has only grown in confidence and conviction; it’s a searing and fiercely determined set of compositions that leaves no doubt that this band is now an entrenched force to be reckoned with as the genre moves toward a new era.
Conceptually, Cavum is an album about this unique moment in human history, when we are simultaneously more connected and yet more isolated than ever. The Latin word for a pit, the cavum is an emblem for the dissolution of our collective consciousness as it has grown more intertwined. In age in which one can reach out and speak to people anywhere in the world, we are finding an increase in depression, a loss of tangible experiences and physical interactions, a growing sense of existential dread. At the same time, there is a blossoming taking place, a heightened awareness of the arts, an ability to connect with people we never would have even twenty years ago. Indeed, the post-rock genre itself would not be advancing in the way that it is without this technology facilitating it. So, for every coin, two equally integral sides to consider. Cavum seeks to utilize its sonic palette to explore these themes of the light and the dark and find precious balance within them.
Listeners will find tension and rage and desperation in a track like the aptly-titled opener “Escape,” whereas they can seek a sweeter release in the second single, “Solace,” which conjures visions of vast skies and welcoming horizons with its gentle melodic refrain that patiently grows into a triumphant climactic swell. Where Cavum finds its truest peaks, though, are in the tracks that blend the entire spectrum. The lead single “Dissolution” is a perfect example of how the light and the dark work best as companions as opposed to adversaries. The sheer power of the track’s introductory detonation is given extra weight with the counterbalance of its more pensive and introspective middle section. When it all comes together for a final crescendo, listeners will find PILLARS functioning at level that is emphatically top-tier. But that is par for the course for the entire record.
2019 is shaping up to be a banner year for the genre, and many of its key contributors have emerged from places that may have gone wholly unnoticed prior to the evolution of social media – such is the grandeur of the light. Now it is up to everyone to find a way to fight the darkness, and as it’s always been, music is a sublime place to start.
— text by David Zeidler (Young Epoch)