Published Mar 21, 2007"Had we heard people say, Wow, its good, I cant wait to hear it with a singer, Im sure we might have tried a little harder [to find a vocalist] but we found that it was well-received and it felt good to us, so the combination is why we dont have one, explains Pelican guitarist/mastermind Laurent Lebec on the units serendipitous instrumental proclivities. Formed originally as a side-project for grind band Tusk as an outlet for the slower, down-tuned riffs Laurent was writing that "had no place in Tusk and were kind of laughed at, almost everything about Pelican and the level of success, cross-genre appeal and critical acclaim they have achieved in a short five years seems to fly in the face of conventional music logic.
First off, theyre an instrumental band emerging from the aggressive underground where acts without singers are viewed more as gimmicky or technical wankers and seldom do well. Second, Pelican write long songs; its not uncommon for Pelican to effortlessly surpass the ten-minute mark, spanning countless movements and emotional ebb and flows while incorporating repetitive doom/rock riffing, moody acoustic guitars and serene, cinematic soundscapes. And third, well, they dont have a singer.
That hasnt stopped Pelicans latest effort, The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw (Hydra Head), from appearing all over critics "best of lists at the end of 2005, including unexpected accolades from The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly. No one is more surprised at Pelicans success than Laurent. "I would like to emphasis that its a very modest living, but its growing, he jokes. "I never thought, oh, were an instrumental band so were putting a ceiling on the kind of success we can attain. It was more, this just feels right, and it kept feeling right so we continued with it. Ive stopped thinking of the instrumental association because weve ended up doing the majority of our tours with non-instrumental bands. Its surprising to me too [but] its what I always wanted.
That success has been due to Pelicans ability to reach beyond the metal scene, gaining converts from fans of post-rock, indie and jazz. "We really, really wanted that, Laurent says. "At first it was like, You guys are clearly a metal band, its all very metal, it all feels very metal, and we really fought against that. Then the backlash was, Oh, they dont want to be metal theyre false metal! Were not traditionalists, we wouldnt be an instrumental band if we were. That doesnt mean were not all big fans of metal, but were fans of other things. I dont want to look back and go, Im glad we didnt do that tour, it really would have corrupted our image. If you have the opportunity to go out with bands as diverse as Mono, Opeth and Thrice, why in the hell wouldnt you?