Flood of Red - They Must Be Building Something
Record Label: Dark City
Release Date: October 1, 2012
They Must Be Building Something is the follow up release to Flood of Red’s debut album Leaving Everything Behind, released in 2009. Since their formation, Flood of Red has been a rag tag gang of Scottish skaters turned post hardcore riffers but, over the years, their sound has developed into more of a somber, post rock take on heavy music, and they have entirely done away with the screamed vocals. Their original material was comparable to Underoath, and after extensive touring with Enter Shikari, Flood of Red flew to Baltimore, Maryland to record Leaving Everything Behind with Brian McTernan (Sky Eats Airplane, Circa Survive).
Following a period of relatively quiet internet presence, Flood of Red returned to us in 2012 with They Must Be Building Something. The EP has four songs, being about 17 minutes long, and each track brings something new to the table that the band hasn’t quite tried before.
When listening to They Must Be Building Something, Jordan Spiers’ melancholy crooning is a far cry from anything in the current scene, and his general presence in the band adds a sense of examined, even detached sadness. The guitar work by Sean McGroarty and Calum Doris stands out as well, often relying on mixtures of reverb, delay, and distortion to coat their chords and melodies with a heavy approach to post rock instrumentation. Notable on the EP is the ever-present synth soundscape backdrop, provided by Dale Gallacher. The keyboards on this album are not done in an exaggerated or obvious manner, blending in with the rich array of music, often providing an aural atmosphere.
Album opener “The Treasury (I Have Lost)” is the most dynamic of all tracks, as warm, rich guitar chords are turned into post hardcore riffs and the song erupts into dramatic sections backed by orchestral synth pads. Spiers’ narrations are dramatic and eloquent as he begins, “It doesn’t matter, you should have got in touch when you felt my prayers. I would’ve been there for you, only for you, waiting in the forest.” The second track, “No Lover of Mine,” is the most aggressive of the four songs. The track opens with distorted guitar riffing and Spiers’ moody lyrics, “I have lost my inspiration once again, and I’ve abandoned every feeling I have had.” The track is well mixed, featuring loud snare hits and chugging bass lines. Spiers apparently has a bone to pick with his subject on this track, “And did you really think that I’d be keeping every letter? Go fuck your letters, and all your pictures too. Because I don’t want them.”
Number three, “The Weight of Water,” opens delicately with lead guitar melodies and a gentle, pumping beat as Spiers takes the mic. The song features the heavy take on post rock elements once again, involving musically intricate guitar and keyboard work with meticulous audio engineering and effect use. “The Weight of Water” is a softer track as a whole, though, often breaking into quieter, more sullen bits of ambience. The track is the first to use keyboards more directly, as Gallacher’s gentle lines lead the song into an interlude. Spiers works in circles, repeating himself, “I’m in smoke, oh I’m in smoke. I’ll burn past tomorrow.”
The last song, “They Must Be Building Something,” was originally titled “Discover” by Spiers. The track features a bright keyboard introduction with a punchy kick drum pattern behind it. It’s the most uplifting of the tracks, building to a blood-pumping chorus as Spiers chants, “So let’s discover a new melody for these sad songs to sing.” The song continues to evolve, adding thick guitar riffs and sharp breaks in the music just before it peters out abruptly.
From a holistic vantage point, They Must Be Building Something is dynamic and somber, yet still replayable. The EP is interesting to listen to, from an objective and personal standpoint. It’s mature, well produced, and artistic. The EP’s main downfall could be its almost too morose, sluggish tone of voice, but the general beauty and creativity put into the songs should ultimately leave the listener with an appreciation for the band.