This Will Destroy You Live Up to Name

June 10th, 2010

This Will Destroy You – Mercury Lounge – June 9, 2010

This Will Destroy You haven’t set out to make it easy on themselves, trying to stand out in the saturated niche of epic post-rock instrumentals. But there’s always room for another great band if they are truly innovative, and TWDY is completely devoted to their massive sound. Their tone—combined with their vision of the future—shares cinematic nods with Explosions in the Sky and Mono. The group has always leaned toward introducing hints of mechanical electronics into their compositions, and when played live, this adds a new layer of ambience that separates them from the pack. They beg the question if geography, specifically Texas, which Explosions also call home, has anything to do with their expansive sound. Or if it’s more of a movement against a lead vocalist, that the creation is a collective equal vision. Or maybe it’s just that vocals themselves can too easily be a blunt instrument for emotion.

The music alone can be a more difficult challenge in evoking a feeling, as counterintuitive as that might seem. Last night at Mercury Lounge, drummer Alex Bhore led the quartet. Faced with the amps’ sheer volume, he kept up by hitting the kit with all his force, frequently standing and inspiring a “Beat the shit out of those drums!” shout from the back of the room. The speed at which This Will Destroy You go from barely audible valleys to ear-shattering peaks and remain on that plateau of sound takes sheer physical endurance. For their last song, Slow Six violinist Chris Tignor added haunting tones to a pummeling finish. It was a Western apocalypse, the last notes of a chaotic existence. Then a distorted delay loop slowly faded out as they made their way offstage. —Jason Dean