While Six Parts Seven has toned down the Eno-ing post-rock mannerisms for its most structured set in years, the stalwart-looking Viking on the cover of the Kent, Ohio, band's fifth album definitely means business. Call it a metaphor, call it what you want the collective of six and sometimes seven members has battled the Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor comparisons long enough. These eight instrumentals, ebbing with only the slightest emotional twitch, outshine the spectral dawdling of 2004's Everywhere and Right Here and the self-indulgent space-rock wavering of their peers in just barely 30 minutes. From the brass-eyed arrangements that steady "Stolen Moments" and "Falling Over Evening" to the unlikely riffs that lie in "Awaiting Elemental Meltdown," the sprawling textures of Casually Smashed to Pieces are also clear and meaningful. In other words, they don't sprawl for boredom's sake. "Knock on My Door" is a highlight with its acoustic guitars and dreamy state of mind, it stays true to the band's newfound focus. For the first time in more than 12 years of activity, Six Parts Seven are prepared for what lies ahead, instead of stalling out by dwelling on influence. Having a Nordic warrior up front makes sense now, doesn't it?
MacKenzie Wilson writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to email@example.com.