Long Distance Calling is a band I discovered relatively late in my lovage of the instrumental genres of Rock and Metal. I don’t know why, because other bands such as Mogwai I knew from the beginning and Long Distance Calling is a band that is named quickly when asked for “typical” bands if you read articles about Post-Rock and Progressive Rock. I always connected them with another band which sounded nearly the same and I don’t like them, God was I wrong… I started with Boundless in 2018 and was instantly fascinated by the album history, some weaker albums, yeah, but overall, I know why this band is name-dropped if you talk about this genres.
Half a year after the great live album Stummfilm they released their seventh studio album How Do We Want To Live?. The album art and the style of the advertisement, pictures and pre-music videos reminded of old 70s popular-scientific books for everybody who was interested in the solar system/galaxy, technical utopias or the secrets of our world. Again, a shame that I still didn’t have a vinyl player, I would have bought the album because of the style. But what matters is the music. Does the album keep what it promises, and can it continue the old and usual quality of the band? With the pre-releases it was clear that they try out some ways of electronical sound to add their own style. And the short answer: Yes, it does.
The album has a main topic which is always hearable. Not only because of the sometimes-included voice samples with a robotic and futuristic touch (“Curiosity is a real bastard/ it actually is the drive to change circumstances/…”), this utopic art style from the 70s is also included musically. The title of the album is the main question of what humanity thinks how they want to face the next big changes that come with our lifestyle. How can we safe the climate or entire regions but also the question of what should we do with artificial intelligence, how much power can we give our technical achievements?
The electronical samples are in nearly every part of the album, it sometimes reminds of movies like Blade Runner, but sometimes I thought that here and there are parts that could be from Kraftwerk, a band which can always be connected with the main topic of the album. But all of this stuff that reminds you of something are self-produced by the band and not a “we take something from here and there…”. Long Distance Calling did again an amazing job to improve their style of playing and repertoire of songs, not a single song feels like a filler. Sometimes the drums are the main sound of the song (“Hazard”), the electronical parts (“Curiosity Part 2”) or the bass (“Fall/Opportunity”). The last example nearly misses any kind of guitar riffs, it sounds like typical ambient music, but not irrelevant. It drags you into this violin sounds and beats to its devoutly overall style. But primarily you get harder and softer riffs, playful bass and drums or an electronical sound that snuggles up to the harder parts to tone down the roughness and give them a nice touch of science fiction and utopia. And one of the strengths of the album definitely is that every single song is part of the greater topic of the album, but also works perfectly as a song itself for your playlist or if you want to repeat one song again and again.
Overall, it’s a Post-Rock/Metal Album fans of the genre will like a lot. It has a main topic that always is the centre of the album. It has a lot of ideas and styles in the songs, is playful, sometimes samples parts which you think it’s from other bands, but you are not sure about it. The only negative thing in my opinion is the song with lyrics, which rips you out of a typical experience with this kind of an album. In the end, this album will be one of the best of the genre this year and I think Long Distance Calling earned it that their name is called much quicker if you talk about the genre – they are one of the reference bands that define the style of Post-Rock and Post-Metal.
“Curiosity, Pt. 2”