And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs (Richter Collective)

An album to bring a smile to your face, and added thrust to your fist pumps.

Released May 9th, 2011 via Richter Collective / By Peter Clark
And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs (Richter Collective) Following on from last years’ The Letters EP, Belfast four-piece instrumentalists And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA) have managed to find some time in between relentless touring to record and release what is surprisingly only their second full length album, Gangs.

Recorded during weekdays in between festival appearances during the summer last year, Gangs offers a lot more than many of their instrumental contemporaries in terms of musical progression and experimentations with tracks. Whereas the way to give a track a deeper aspect seems to be adding obscure samples from old movies, ASIWYFA stay clear of that end on focus on visceral guitar patterns that both carry the songs and bring them to their often destructive ends.

ASIWYFA are not a post rock band, they don’t write scores that are designed to lift you up into a sense of cathartic ecstasy, instead, their songs are of a more celebratory nature, soundtracking a party or moment of success, rather than a gloomy rolling hillside or the death of a loved one. ‘7 Billion People All Alive At Once’ perfectly captures the essence of what Gangs is trying to portray, with the inclusion of a gang chant in the middle, the guitars are at a falsetto scripture that allows a sense of joy to flow through.

Gangs works as a whole and as individual songs, but the record is centred around ‘Homes’, which is not an actual track, but rather spans tracks 6 and 7: ‘Ghost Parlor KA-6 to...’ ‘...Samara To Belfast’. Towards the end of what becomes a twelve minute epic, mirroring the bands return home from months of touring, the guitars build into a crescendo of harmonious riffs before ending in a relieved aftermath of gentle memories and welcome faces.

‘Lifeproof’ closes Gangs, and proves that you don’t need lyrics to make, not just a moving record, but one which transcends into emotions of joy and celebration, which is probably ‘Lifeproof’ has a samba-esque vibe flowing through it as the steel drums and whistles are revealed as being the heartbeat which has been cascading through Gangs since the start, and only revealed once the guitars have stopped.

ASIWYFA have created a very special record with Gangs, full of energy and riffs, honestly, what more could you ask for?