Label: Wirebird Records Release date: 30/11/09 Website: Ex Libras Myspace Buy Suite(s) download/physical from here Ex Libras’ debut album Suite(s) gives you plenty to marvel at; the fact it was mostly written and recorded in a self-made shed, the fact it somehow manages to live up to their shudderingly intense live show, and most importantly how bloody good it is. This debut offering from the post-post-post-rock trio is conceptual in that all the tracks run together; but it's so far from pretentious that in cyclical fashion it almost re-approaches it. As such it almost befits the album to approach it first from a distance; quite heavily effects driven in parts, Ex Libras' sound is uniformly melodic and often piano led. A feeling of being moments away from a heavy drop is persistent, the pacing and dynamics of the eight tracks consummately well measured. The aforementioned crescendos are actually surprisingly sparse, further highlighting the sense of release and the thrilling atmospherics. The whole package is utterly compelling and cohesive When indeed that heavy song closure does come (out of nowhere in 'Sum Numbers') everything suddenly fits gloriously together. A little tech, plenty of scuzz and a whole lot of incredible beat-keeping demonstrate quite aptly that Ex Libras know how to rock the fuck out, just that they also have the restraint to make it really count. This is music that could easily have eschewed vocals of any meaningful sort, but those of Amit Sharma prove their place irrefutably. Whether it's the gentle falsetto opening up 'Audio Video Disco' alongside wistful, subtly overdriven guitars or the distant wailing finishing off the LP, Sharma demonstrates an admirable understanding of when to shore up the instrumentation and when to let it speak for itself. Drummer Ross Kenning and keyboardist Kieran Nagi play with finesse and the utmost subtlety, some passages so understated as to be almost ethereal, yet the tightness of the rhythms and the haunting splashes of synth ensure you're never far from a reference point. The only possible criticisms to make are extremely tenuous ones,; swathes of instrumental minimalism can feel dangerously close to ambient, and the fluid nature of the tracks means that at times they can even feel a little indistinct. The (consistently) great drumming sounds the tiniest bit over-produced, the penultimate track isn't as brilliant as the preceding six or following one. If anything though the only genuinely bad thing about this offering is no fault of the musicians; the heart of the album's intensity is a definite departure from mainstream post-rock that might alienate those looking for more of a quick fix or without the requisite forty-two minutes to enjoy the thing in its entirety. Either way, this is most definitely the kind of album that demands you listen to it from start to finish; in fact it makes it very hard for you not to do so. Ex Libras have hit upon a signature sound with staggering alacrity; clean and elegant without being cold or clinical, restrained without withholding closure. Suite(s) will represent for many an exhilarating accomplishment in exploring post-rock boundaries. For others, it will simply be exhilarating; regardless of which camp you fall into, Suite(s) will feel epic, yet as the last notes fade out, you'll still feel bizarrely like it's finished far too soon. Rating: 9/10

Ex Libras - RADAR from Ex Libras on Vimeo.