On Caspian's third and most recent album, "Waking Season", the Massachusetts quintet pulls off a feat that has been elusive for most other modern instrumental post-rock groups: They manage to pay homage to the forefathers of the genre without sounding completely derivative.
The group sets the tone immediately on the album-opening title track -- a slow, steady build that keeps its sound controlled, cautiously growing in both complexity and volume. Later, the group evokes the feeling of a soundtrack with the distortion and drone of "High Lonesome" and the rolling guitars on "Long the Desert Mile", which are complemented by the subtle chant of an angelic chorus. "Collider in Blue" sounds both precariously contained and ready to explode at any moment, which it eventually does, halfway into the next track, chaotic album-closer "Fire Made Flesh".
The album's most striking track is the 10-minute "Gone in Bloom and Bough", which melds atmospheric guitars and hypnotic percussion with ghostly, murmured vocals. Halfway through, the group reins the whole song back to almost nothing, then builds it back up again to a shimmering peak. More impressively, every track on "Waking Season" flows smoothly into the next, not as one continuous piece of music but as separate songs that are sequenced beautifully to form a cohesive whole.
-- Catherine P. Lewis