Pelican Aggressive Tendencies Tour 2006 Preview

Pelican Aggressive Tendencies Tour 2006 Preview
"Had we heard people say, ‘Wow, it’s good, I can’t wait to hear it with a singer,’ I’m 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 don’t have one,” explains Pelican guitarist/mastermind Laurent Lebec on the unit’s 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, they’re 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; it’s 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 don’t have a singer.

That hasn’t stopped Pelican’s 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 Pelican’s success than Laurent. "I would like to emphasis that it’s a very modest living, but it’s growing,” he jokes. "I never thought, ‘oh, we’re an instrumental band so we’re 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. I’ve stopped thinking of the instrumental association because we’ve ended up doing the majority of our tours with non-instrumental bands. It’s surprising to me too [but] it’s what I always wanted.”

That success has been due to Pelican’s 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, it’s all very metal, it all feels very metal,’ and we really fought against that. Then the backlash was, ‘Oh, they don’t want to be metal — they’re false metal!’ We’re not traditionalists, we wouldn’t be an instrumental band if we were. That doesn’t mean we’re not all big fans of metal, but we’re fans of other things. I don’t want to look back and go, ‘I’m glad we didn’t 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 wouldn’t you?”