The band started selling the new album at gigs during the past month, before its official release Tuesday. The album is less symphonic and textured than the group’s earlier efforts, and feels like a stopgap — more a memento from a current show than a fully blown new work. It includes two 20-minute songs that the band performs now and had also played on tour before its hiatus — Mladic, with an Eastern European folk bounce at the center, and We Drift Like Worried Fire, moving from ballad to dirge to stomp — as well as two shorter pieces, around six minutes, new and moody and far less shaped.
The album wears thin in totality, but has isolated moments: entrances and releases and dropouts. One comes 15 minutes into Worried Fire, when a march rhythm moves into a slightly faster 4/4 groove and the whole song lifts, giving you a pretty solid 90-second high before the repetition lets you down again. And there’s another on Strung Like Lights at Thee Printemps Erable, one of the shorter tracks, where a feedback tone like an ice burn, bolstered by a low-end rumble, suddenly disappears at 4:32, leaving behind weird, echoey, warped-sounding loops. It’s dark and suggestive music: You can almost see it as physical shapes.
— BEN RATLIFF, NY Times News Service