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(50:02, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. And There by the River I Lost My Glasses 10:14 2. Last Days of Summer 8:15 3. Broken Are Little Victories by the Ship of Life 4:40 4. It's Snowing Like It's the End of the World 11:50 5. Amnesia 2013 Version 15:03 Bonus Video: Broken LINEUP: Marko Ц violin Asya Ц bass Igor Ц guitar Natasha Ц drums
Prolusion. The Ukrainian project KROBAK has been around for a few years at this point, with digital releases dating back to 2007 issued under this moniker. These initial productions were the result of the ideas of Igor Sidorenko, who ran Krobak as a one-man band until 2012. At that point the one man band evolved into a four man strong band unit, and "Little Victories", released through the Russian label MALS Records in 2013, may be regarded as the debut album by Krobak as a full fledged band.
Analysis. Krobak isn't among those bands that venture forth towards any of the edges of the progressive rock universe one way or another. At least at this point in their career it appears that this foursome know exactly what type of music they want to explore, and have chosen to start their excursions in territories well known and well explored. Instrumental progressive rock of the post rock variety is the name of the game here, and those familiar with this kind of music won't find many surprises on this album. The advantage of venturing forth from a well explored approach you are familiar with yourself is that it's fairly easy to make music that sounds well, the main challenge is to create music that will also interest others familiar with that kind of music. While I'm not overly well versed in the field of post rock, my impression is that Krobak's take on it will please those who have a strong affection for this type of music, while those who are maybe tiring ever so slightly from the main varieties of this style may not find "Little Victories" to be the album that reignites their interest. The main components on this production as on many other of a similar kind won't surprise anyone, I guess. Gentle, light toned, plucked nervous guitar details with resonating details or a more frantic and pace-filled execution alternating with slow to mid-paced sequences dominated by dark toned, drawn out guitar riffs with a distinct textured feel to them, the songs either ebbing and flowing in intensity as the two main themes alternate with or without variations or a structure that sees the composition start with a frail, delicate mood that slowly builds in intensity towards a richly layered, majestic arrangement that most commonly finds a dramatic release marking either the end of the composition or resetting the song for a second build up to a final release. To add nerve, tension and contrast to their compositions, Krobak have chosen to use the violin, utilized to add mournful textures that contrast both the light toned, frail guitars as well as the darker, brooding riff based textures. An approach that works like a charm I might add, the fluctuating violin motifs a touch of beautiful elegance as it mournfully navigates its way on top of the other instruments. Unless I'm much mistaken and my ears easily deceived, there's a bit of studio magic at play as well, as I noted down quite a few instances of what appeared to be layered guitar motifs and even occasional instances of layered violin details, further enriching the contrasts explored and adding a fair degree of subtle details to the arrangements. Sequences where drums and just about all impact notes from all instruments are aligned for subtle dramatic effect is another effective detail that does add a touch of vitality to these compositions.
Conclusion. Krobak doesn't expand the borders of the post rock universe with "Little Victories", but they do have an effective and well made take on what to my ears sounds like fairly traditional post rock of the instrumental variety. Frail light toned guitar details alternating with dark toned, beefy guitar riffs with a distinct textured feel to them, with mournful violin solo on top as the main contrasting element. That's basically what you'll find on this album, and if you enjoy post rock utilizing these elements as the main, dominating effects then you will most likely find this disc by Krobak to be of interest as well.
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