A Pyramid For The Living (2006)
My Pal God Records
Each of Del Rey's four releases is worth it's own college thesis, but their latest, A Pyramid for the Living, is their finest example of sonically translating the epical. Damien Burke, Brendan Daly, Eben English and Michael Johnson (the North American Snare Drum Champion, by the way), released their first EP in 1997 and have managed two excellent LP's, Speak It Not Aloud, and Darkness & Distance, between then and this last year's release that clocks in at fifty minutes with only five tracks.
The record opens with the theatrical "Olympus Mons", a ten and a half minute classic tragedy that has all the elements of a Homer masterpiece. Sitars, choirs of Siren-like voices, it's like a civilization builds and then dies and then rebuilds and re-dies again. The rest of the album holds to the saga-like standard as well, with each mini-epic And all this while wisely and vigilantly eyeful of that hazy grey matter that separates fine instrumental story-telling from the histrionic and melodramatic black holes so rampant in today's "post-rock".
A Brief Strangle
If their mastery of crescendo and timing don't kill you, what will kill you is the DOUBLE DRUMKITS. Holy fucking hell. It is unfortunate that this technique never quite translates as fiery in the studio as it does in the live performance. After seeing a number of bands that have recruited a second drummer for their shows, it is clear this is always the case. But of all those bands, Del Rey is undeniably at the forefront. The two kits work off one another, masterfully. Pay close attention to the overlapping rhythms from each channel. One snare will hit, and a split second later the other will hit. Always a wonder seeing it live.
Listen to a good chunk of this record's first track via Quicktime.
Or at their Myspace.