The Appleseed Cast: "North Star Ordination"

Single (2012)

By P.M. Goerner | 22 January 2013

If you look closely at the Graveface Records page for the Appleseed Cast’s new 7” single for the label’s Charity Series, you’ll find the track rather boldly labeled: EPIC. But there are some appropriate qualifiers that come to mind when I try to relate why that non-descriptor honestly fits the band in their own way, or at least in more than an atmospherically-appropriate-soundtrack-for-Magic: The Gathering-tournaments sort of way. To me, the Appleseed Cast have always had an uncomfortably appealing command of a specific kind of epic. There’s a ramshackle humanity to it that makes the band’s style seem more inviting than the distant vistas conjured by most of their post-rock contemporaries. Here it’s all doe-eyed wonder and Romantic sentiment shrunk to a lump-in-the-throat swallow and contained minutely within the reflection on the surface of a chiming musical snow globe. It’s all the feeling of an overwhelming experience, but it’s given an extra dimension by being captured in something as precious and personal as a good book, or an emotional photograph. It’s the kind of epic that’s sucking you in, to, as songwriter Christopher Crisci said on the band’s early masterwork Low Level Owl (2001), “stand there and dance with the memory,” once removed from the physical largeness of the epic moment into the million tiny epics of the mind. Or ice dragons, dork.

It’s anyone’s guess as to how any band, let alone one as consistently singular as the Appleseed Cast, might have survived the mire of the ’90s emo revival machine, but recordings as vindicating and distant from that association as “North Star Ordination” might easily lend the band credibility in the eyes of anyone with a taste for good atmospheric rock. If you weren’t ready to give up the ghost of guilt by association yet, I must direct your attention to the killer Peter Hook stance that is obviously being struck somewhere behind the song’s closing riff. The mix of nervy, propulsive drumming, waves of glockenspiel-ish guitar syncopation, plenty of whimsical ambient stargaz-ery, and the record’s moody, anachronistic warble makes the track a superb addition to a great vinyl series with a good cause in mind, and has got me hunting a new compass with word that this is just the beginning for the Appleseed Cast and Graveface in 2013. Join me compatriots, as I don my snow goggles and point thusly with my most fancy pen! Northward!

► “North Star Ordination”