Local Wire

Pelican

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, 2007's City of Echoes, served as a turning point for the band. Guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec referred to Echoes as Pelican's "pop album," and though it didn't exactly land the band in Casey Kasem-land, 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 fan's 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 its current tour, which stops in Tempe just a few days after their SxSW performance.
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Mike R. Meyer