This Will Destroy You are unique among their contemporaries. Much like fellow Texans Explosions in The Sky, This Will Destroy You make big sky compositions out of guitars, drums, subtle electronics and synths that allow you to fall into the tracks and get lost for a bit. Expansive, vast, and exploratory musical journeys that feel they were made to soundtrack existential pondering, space exploration, car rides into an endless horizon, and contemplating the bigger questions. Where EiTS sound more grounded in earthly predilections, This Will Destroy You always seemed more interested in experimenting with the formula and taking their sonic palate into more far-reaching territory. Their gradual evolution from the debut Young Mountain to now has been a very satisfying one. That first album, while still sounding like a band searching for an identity, was a beautifully ornate beginning. Though albums like Tunnel Blanket and last record, the spatial and stunning Another Language, showed a band stretching their creative tendencies into ethereal territory. There were elements of ambient, art rock, metal and experimental music throughout the last ten years of music making for This Will Destroy You.
It’s been four years since This Will Destroy You’s last album, the aforementioned Another Language. On that album, the now Los Angeles-based band scattered fragile electronic experimentation over their guitar-heavy songs to give their sound a unique and alien feel. Their new record, the excellent New Others Part One, continues that trend of experimentation while still staying true to the echoed guitars and big sky pondering they’ve built art around for 10 years. The results are their most consistent and experimental record yet.
There’s no mistaking the chiming guitars and explosive drums that “Melted Jubilee” offer up when you hit play. There’s a familiar uplift and optimism we’ve come to expect on a This Will Destroy You record and this track fills those qualifications quite well. The electric piano leads the way as jangle-y guitars carry us up. I’ve always gotten the impression that Texas offers something up that other states can’t for instrumental bands: and endless horizon to get lost in and memorialize in composition. Sure, Montana and the Dakotas probably have that, too. But there’s something not quite like driving four hours between towns in West Texas. This Will Destroy You capture that drive perfectly. “To Win, Somebody’s Got To Lose” is continuation of that drive. Underneath the shimmering guitars, though, is what sounds like an old wind up music box that leads us from West Texas highways to somewhere in the stratosphere.
From here the band celebrate deconstructing that big sound into something more like buzzing electronics and elemental. “Syncage” starts out sounding like deeply compressed electrical charges working their way to the surface. Soon, though, the song explodes in a flurry of deeply affected drums and sustained melodies that hang in the air like discharged energy. “Allegiance” is pure ambient heaven. It puts me in mind of Huerco S and his excellent 2016 record For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have). It’s like this fragile experimental music that lingers in the air long after it ends. “Weeping Window” is slow-churning and builds up to a cacophony of noise, like something off King Crimson’s Red. There’s therapy and salvation in this track. Coming to album closer “Go Away Closer” feels like coming full circle, though it ends on what sounds like a rusting, dilapidated calliope playing by itself in the center of an abandoned carnival. This sounds more like the band we began the journey with at the start, so in a way New Others Part One is very much a full circle kind of record.
This Will Destroy You have been honing and reshaping their sound since the beginning, and New Others Part One feels and sounds like a culmination of the first ten years of the band. Perhaps if there’s a New Others Part Two we’ll see how this particular trip resolves. Regardless, New Others Part One is a beautifully constructed music journey, and one of This Will Destroy You’s most cohesive albums yet.
7.9 out of 10