Pelican - s/t [Hydra Head Records - 2003]Birds are usually beautiful, majestuous, light and they fly with much grace. Pelicans are birds (more precisely: large web-footed fish-eating birds with a very large bill and distensible gular pouch) but ain’t very graceful and look kinda odd. However they fly. The band certainly don’t. They will more likely fall from a seven storey building and crush anything that is below than taking off. But that is the way I like them.
Hydrahead is not known for being a label that likes feather-light bands. Between Knut, Atomsmasher, early Cave In, Keelhaul and so on, they assembled a good bunch of loud bands. Pelican is the latest addition, and boy, do they not look pale compared to the rest of the roster... This instrumental untitled ep was first self-released one year ago. It would have been criminal not to release it on a wider scale.
Now you know we are talking loud music, I have to say: what kind of loud? Pelican is heavy, tuned down, trance inducing. It is a mix between early-Swans, Melvins, Earth, Isis, Khanate and Neurosis. In a way... Many people hear Mogwai too.
As punishing as Godflesh, the quartet crafts entrancing, bleak and even mean ambiences. As much as Michael Gira’s music, the songs are very repetitive. Not in a bad way: it’s more a case of being stubborn and going against the damn wind at all costs rather than being monotonous. Their seems to be an urge to deploy one’s wings and take off to go deeper into the blackest, dirtiest instincts of man and corners of the world.
All ain’t nice in the world that Pelican’s music depicts. The listener will feel a burden on his/her shoulder. But instead of leaving this load behind, he/she will become as one with Pelican.François Monti