In fact, Thorsten told me about this album. "Serge, this is something for you," he wrote, "you'll love it." He knows I have a thing for post rock and all things atmospheric, so I decided to check it out during the worst weather of the year, so far. And guess, what, Thorsten was right. I love this.
Besides is a post rock band from Poland, formed in 2011. Since then, they have been paving themselves an ever widening path in the post rock scene, including a gig at Dunk! Festival in 2018. And that is exactly where I would place this band again, but I think most readers will have already expected that. After all, whenever I hear decent to excellent post rock, I think of the worlds most friendliest festival and let my mind wonder off to those three days of sheer bliss, like a pretaste of heaven. Anyway, back to this album, which coincidentally also feels like sheer bliss, if you're a fan of post rock.
What Besides delivers on 'Bystanders' is nothing short of pure bred post rock, one promising intro and eight potential post rock classics. That intro is amazing and quite anthemic for a two minutes lasting track. Yet, what follows then is a blast. 'Ich Bin Wieder Da!'. The title heralds big things to come and it is not lying. This track is one to drown in, one of those seemingly endless anthems that make this genre so interesting. Meniscus comes to mind, and so do several other vintage post rock bands, but most of all, this is Besides at their best.
After absorbing some heavy tracks like 'For Hanna' and 'Miners', I suddenly realize that this is the arena-rock version of post rock. I mean, put this in front of thousands of people at Camp Nou (Barcelona's football stadion where among others U2 and Bruce Springsteen have already performed) and they will all be in awe, continuously. Unfortunately, that is never going to happen because this genre simple isn't big enough for Camp Nou. Oh well, perhaps most of this music is best to be enjoyed in the intimate setting of a local festival anyway.
'Kids' might be the one to lure in the doubters. This track contains playfulness, atmosphere and energy. It's also quite varied for a five minutes lasting track. Yet, I think my personal favorite is 'Last Lullaby'. It opens kinda gloomy and eerie, like the soundtrack for a haunting horror movie. Then the song evolves into a strings-driven anthem with vague influences from dark jazz before eventually coming out with the distorted guitars and the epic atmosphere. Damn, this is good, but I guess you've already guessed that by now.
What else is there to say about this (near-) masterpiece. Besides managed to deliver a fan favorite, a potential end-year list candidate and an instant classic in the post rock scene. If anyone ever asks you what post rock is, you might as well give them this album instead of all the classics from Explosions, Mono, Caspian and so on. This is vintage stuff. 'Bystanders' definitely deserves a spot in your already vast collection, no doubt about that.