Swords Project Entertainment Is Over If You Want It

The debut full-length from Portland’s Swords Project takes the group in a similar direction as their eponymous 2001 EP, extrapolating their unique sound over seven tracks that, save the weak first side, has developed into a consistently innovative and intriguing mixture of experimental post-rock and indie prog. Once the superfluous opening track winds to an end, the album begins its slow ascent to being interesting — instantly weighed down by the reluctance to let the vocals take a prominent role amidst the timid instrumentation. Thankfully, the band manages to overcome these insecurities and Entertainment is able to finally blossom into fruition with its final four tracks — all of which are far more realised than the first three are willing to give the band credit for. "Cocktails and Shuttlecocks” arrives as a complete break, its post-rock build and strong vocal melody only linked to what precedes it through production values, which are also quickly thrown out the window for the record’s real centrepiece, "Audience of One.” A primarily instrumental tour de force that’s equal parts Explosions in the Sky and Dirty Three, the ingeniously dramatic structure is perfectly balanced by the distorted pop of "Immigracion” and the epic, Guided by Voices-meets-Mogwai feel of closer "New Shapes.” It gets off to a slow start, but once Entertainment is able to focus on its true strengths, the results are extraordinary. (Arena Rock)