The band's debut album For the first time was a loud, abrasive, anxious, dark, yet beautiful album that did not fail to deliver at all and is one album that I still look back to from the band and has one of my favorite songs from the band and of all time Sunglasses. Now about a year later, we are met with the band's sophomore album Ants From Up There and their next live album Live at Bush Hall coming out tomorrow with a series of newly written songs from the band after the band's front man Issac Wood left the band due to mental health issues. It's a real shame he left since he really helped pushed both the power of their two albums musically and emotionally with his vocal style and lyricism and his work on the guitar. This album wouldn't have been made possible if it weren't for him.
Ants From Up There is such an artistic yet such an emotional album that can make anyone surely cry, and the structures of the songs are so cleverly written and the lyricism really helps push the meaning of the songs and gives it true purpose. It's track list is perfection and each song is truly great in it's own way, even including the Intro and Mark's Theme. We will be finding that the winds, strings, and piano on this album really help add flavor into each song on here and give us satisfying chamber pop and alongside with the guitars, the bass, the drums, and the vocals, help create this outstanding sound that had been totally unexpecting from their previous album.
Where to start now? We are welcomed with the first quick track Intro with it's klezmer-inspired motif yet again and soon enough we are brought into Chaos Space Marine with it's exciting and welcome sound which sounds like the opposite of For the first time and it's pumped up sound which brings us a long buildup to the climax of the song and is just mainly a goofy song as the band describes it and is a pretty good song opener and brings us in to hear the next hour of this masterpiece.
We now head into the most popular song on this album Concorde, and for good reason it deserves its attention. It would be best to listen to this song with the official music video that's online as I think it helps capture it's message more but the lyricism does that fine alone in the audio. We slowly are brought into this long buildup with repeating instruments and sounds like a march almost but then we are brought into this satisfying outro with hooks we can't find anywhere else in the song which makes it all worth the while and is a super nice track to hear. After that is Bread Song, with it's calm atmosphere that occurs throughout the song with more instruments coming in creating this beautiful orchestral sound with the strings in the background and the piano trills and cymbal rolling that soon creates this upbeat sound soon when the drum beat comes in with the bass but then relaxes down like the beginning of the song making it a decent track to hear.
Good Will Hunting continues on the mood of the album and brings in a catchy beat bringing in both time signatures of 6/4 and 4/4 which sounds super nice to hear when it switches time signatures and makes it quite a fun and nice track to hear. Haldern originally came from a live improvisational jam which makes it all the more a beautiful track and sounds like a nice interlude of a song and creates this epic climax at the end and the instruments all communicating with each other in such unique ways which makes a great middle point of the album. Mark's Theme is the album's least listened to track and I can understand why as it's just mainly an instrumental track with saxophone and piano and strings and just how short it is but I think it's pretty great as it's a tribute to the saxophonist's late uncle who was a big fan of the band which makes it all the more fascinating to hear and I really like this track a lot and it may not be as good as the other many excellent tracks on here but it's a nice song and gives us a break from our journey of this magnificent album.
These last 3 songs are something else. The Place Where He Inserted the Blade has nostalgic lyricism and the instruments are full of warmth and iconic melodies. The chorus is so memorable to hear and sounds super uplifting and especially when all of the band comes in as backing vocals and just sounds really nice and much different than you would find from their debut. Snow Globes acts as a one-two closer of the album along with Basketball Shoes and Snow Globes keeps the same notes throughout and the drums soloing around halfway through the song and leads into this huge buildup but then settles down as like a reprise to the beginning. Then we are met with the final track of the album Basketball Shoes being the longest track on here and having 3 parts making it their most impressive track on here. It basically brings in all of the themes and musical motifs that the whole album has been exploring and brings it into this huge track that makes the whole journey worth it yet feels so exhausting to hear. The final screams and blows at the final part are so holy and the whole band coming together to make this huge sound and Issac screaming makes it such a beautiful track and for good reason makes it a fan-favorite among many others and the reprise to the Intro at the very beginning helps tie in the whole experience of Ants From Up There.
This is probably one of my first longest reviews to make, but I don't really regret it at all. I personally think this is the most impressive and best album of 2022 right next to black midi's Hellfire and if not it's one of the most impressive records we've seen in the 2020s. I really look forward to the bands next album release in audio format and I really look forward to seeing what else the band does next with their music. I would highly recommend this album to someone who wants a taste of impressive and excellent music and it's beautiful chamber art rock sound. Do give this a listen at some point!