The Appleseed Cast - Low Level Owl: Volume II (2001)
(post-rock / emotional indie rock)
The second volume of Low Level Owl is said to be the magnum opus of The Appleseed Cast - the high-light of their whole production. After consuming the album for multiple times, I concur. Beginning from where the first volume left off with A View Of A Burning City, the second volume begins with a track with the same name, adjoining the two volumes in a heavy combination of light music. The music is almost ethereal in its calmness and you can't help but to be overtaken with the cotton-like melodies that sooth your brains into a meaningless mass while your body drifts away in the warm wind.
The progressive building towards the climax of A Place In Line starts right from the beginning of the song and gives a certain feeling of power to the album. The track also shows how the band is capable of stopping the whole song by turning it in a slow, near-silent melody where the world seems to stand still.
I have absolutely fallen in love with The Appleseed Cast's way of balancing their album out with short, in-between tracks where the music seems to stop. Shaking Hands is an excellent demonstration of this and the whole Low Level Owl album duo becomes so tightly bound together by these short tracks that I can't help but to admire this ability. Rooms and Gardens and Ring Out The Warning Bell turn the sled completely towards the post-rock route of this musical city and the two tracks in their whole length leave you wandering in your mind without ever getting lost. With Sunset Drama King thirding this continuing post-rock tale all the way to The Last Line In Line the music becomes a stream of sounds that feel to move ever on.
By this second volume you're convinced that The Appleseed Cast does not include raw, emotional songs in their albums anymore. The emotive lyrics do remain but the soreness in Crisci's voice is long gone and in this case the only constant, change, is definitely good. Reaction gives a hint of the previous emotionality but doesn't let you enjoy it anymore for more than just two and a half minutes. Confession towers over the whole album with its dark ambience, distant voices of some passers-by on a solemn train station. Its a magnificent way to end such a positively mellow album and reminds me of God Is An Astronaut's ending track to All Is Violent, All Is Bright where Everything Dies stole the whole atmosphere of the album.
All in all, the Low Leve l Owl albums are simply the best The Appleseed Cast can offer but they're not the best way to start listening to the band. They can be fully enjoyed when you have learned what the band is about in their true nature and how these two albums are the cornerstone of their discography.