Premiere: Shy, Low Embark On A Post-Rock Journey With “Babylonica”
Post-rock goliaths Shy, Low have amassed quite the catalog over the years. Release after release immerse their listeners in breathtaking sonic landscapes that have grown in scope and power from their early fascinating works, like 2013’s Binary Opposition, to 2021’s acclaimed album, Snake Behind The Sun. Through all of this, the band has established themselves as leaders in the textural rock subgenre, ones who are unafraid to lean into the more experimental roots of the sound in order to captivate their audience. On May 26th, the band will add another fantastic entry into that thrilling discography with Babylonica, an expansive three-song EP released via Pelagic Records that tracks the band’s sonic exploration from wispy textural reveries to gripping instrumental crests. Today, The Auricular is proud to premiere this mesmerizing record a few days ahead of its official release with an exclusive stream of the record as well as an overview of what makes it so sensational.
Album opener “The Salix” begins the musical trek with a wispy reverie of a looping guitar melody. Accented notes within this loop form an inviting arpeggio for listeners, as the drums and bass begin to intensify in sound and demand. It’s a familiar build-up for the band, but one they’ve adorned with subtle nuances that instantly draw the audience into the sonic experience. As the instruments begin to clash in harsh concordance, the initial feeling of tension becomes fully confronted in an intense instrumental release. As it wanes, the opening melody resumes before more strife arises, a pattern that’s repeated before the song closes on an ambient hum.
From there, “33°24_06.0_N 84°14_48.7_W” opens up with a survey of the destination from “The Salix”‘s turbulent voyage. Ambient currents slowly revolve around a wandering gaze helping to illuminate all aspects of the new region “Salvex” helped uncover. It’s an abridged soundscape by Shy, Low standards, but one that conveys the structure of destination, arrival, and exploration the band has constructed on Babylonica.
On album closer “Instinctual Estrangement,” that exploration truly begins, with tones and sounds that add urgency and importance to the motif of “The Salix.” Here, that pensive melody isn’t paused and resumed throughout the song; instead, it evolves and morphs along, taking on new dimensions to fit the space of its new musical terrain. In this way, the song is a culmination of the journey before, where the conflict isn’t halted, but instead allowed to play out in order to reach a new understanding that in turn will contort around its surrounding. It’s a great example of how a goal or promise isn’t the remedy. Sometimes, all that’s needed to reach peace and serenity is to let things play out as they should, which is exactly what this enthralling song and brilliant EP does.
Babylonica is a testament to Shy, Low’s remarkable artistry and showcases how the band’s epic, anthemic sound can translate seamlessly into a tight, compact release that still offers a thrilling and rewarding journey. The vivid instrumental storytelling here displays how the band hasn’t even scratched the surface of their melodic resonance after ten years, with each release just peeling back another layer of their bottomless well of creativity and ingenuity. As is the case with each Shy, Low record now, Babylonica makes us enthusiastic about what’s in store for the band in the future, while still deeply moved by what it’s available right now.
Babylonica will be released digitally on Friday, May 26th via Pelagic Records to all streaming platforms. Vinyl pre-orders are open now for the EP as well, and you can access those ordering links by visiting the the band’s linktree.