Over the years, instrumental rock has earned a (mostly deserved) reputation for being self-indulgent, pretentious and unnecessarily intricate. On their early albums and EPs, Chicago instru-metal quartet Pelican certainly fit that mold, crafting dense, multilayered songs that frequently exceeded the 10-minute mark. But their latest release, 2007s City of Echoes, served as a turning point for the band. Guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec referred to Echoes as Pelicans pop album, and while it didnt exactly land the band in Casey Kasem country, it did feature a more concise, riff-oriented style of songwriting. On songs like Dead Between the Walls and the anthemic Far From Fields, Pelican proved that they could still impress the art-rock crowd without far surpassing the average music fans attention span. Pelican recently left respected indie metal label Hydrahead to join the roster at similarly renowned Southern Lord Records, and a new EP is reportedly in the works. The band has been previewing songs from the new EP on their current tour, which stops in Tempe just a few days after their SXSW performance.
Wed., March 25, 7 p.m., 2009