Montreal native post-rock band The Great Russian Empire come at us with their latest EP, The Yellowbird & The Umbrella, with strong and obvious political leanings and slight How I Met Your Mother vibes. Yellow umbrella and bass anyone?
With good attempt at breaking through into the magical realm of progressive rock, The Great Russian Empire have a tight sound and seem to work well as an ensemble (which is comprised of no guitars and TWO basses). Somehow, they still seem to fall a bit short of the illusionary wonder that is progressive music. However, this album is no stranger to having an overall image that is definitely cohesive to the intended goal. Revolutionary ideas of political outspokenness, shedding light on world issues, and perpetuating the message that modern media is, in fact, complete garbage.
TGRE make a lot of sense, and there’s hardly ever a revolutionary bandwagon I wouldn’t get on, but feeling the lack of punch that seems necessary, is slightly disappointing. Being a relatively short album, it is almost urgent to have to dedicate a few listens, when we should be getting the full experience by the first listen, not the tenth.
Good groove and flow are found in “Resilience, Resilience,” but are a bit difficult to hang on to during the rest of the album. Seems as if we are missing a core aspect of making music as an emotional transfer of ideas, and this is likely caused by the absence of what is the most attractive thing about exciting music; the rewriting of human experience and communication of ideas that exist on levels that don’t even have names.
There is enough musical skill on this album to safely say that potential is obvious. They have good musicality as a band, recording skill, and understanding of what a proper album should sound like. Many of the main ideas to the TGRE ensemble are ones that definitely have the possibility to open the door to more creativity in the future; the only prerequisite is being brave enough to actually walk through that door.
Written by Talia Plante
*Edited by Dominic Abate