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Gilmore Trail Permanence

Sheffield’s post-rock instrumentalists begin to believe with their fourth album, five years in the making.

Released: 21 January 2022
Permanence

Gilmore Trail’s fourth album Permanence is five years in the making, and its elemental mix of EBow guitar, bomb-blast drums and temporal manipulation create a formidable landscape. Navigating the Sheffield four-piece’s sheer cliffs of noise and ten-minute tundras is a Shackleton-like experience, but some of the views take your breath away.

This is not an album without challenges. The looping builds and falls can be alternatively root canal shaking and distancing. It’s intense, and it’s not always easy to understand what they’re feeling. There’s ‘The Zone of Silence’, which segues from Pale Saints-like mandolin guitars to a Mission: Impossible action sequence, a warp in the space-time continuum, and eventually a Disintegration Loops-like ferrite collapse.

The roll of thunder that cuts the extraordinary atmosphere conjured by the band at this point feels alchemic. It’s one of several moments on the album that absolutely delivers on a decade of potential. Built around a revolving guitar shape, ‘Convalescence’ is a gorgeous, half-asleep haiku of a song – the sound of Faye Dunaway inhaling a cigarette forever. It airily strides past John Martyn comparisons before hitching a lift with Dire Straits. Yes, Dire Straits.

‘Echoes of Solitude’ has a sense of adventure that’s even more extraordinary. If you’re still missing Sigur Rós this has the cinematic sweep you need, plus a math rock rectilinear structure that sees the track circle back on itself several times. Exhausting, overwhelming and joyous, it’s like hiking Mam Tor and discovering Martha Reeves and the Vandellas are playing an impromptu set on the trig point.

After a decade of explosions, resetting and hanging on, GIlmore Trail have become the landscape they wanted to create. This is a perfect time to start exploring.