Pelican: The Cliff EP (Southern Lord) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, July 3rd, 2020  


The Cliff EP

Southern Lord

Mar 26, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Given three remixes here, "The Cliff" began as an instrumental track on Pelican's 2013 post-metal must-have, Forever Becoming. While the subgenre has been known for the principle of more apocalyptic is more, there's also been a growing acceptance of brighter melodies and brazen shoegaze. Pelican, offering generally more classic metal crunch than slow crescendo, deal in the additional options on "The Cliff" (album cut), a relenting moment not unlike Catherine Wheel doing Rush's "Limelight" with full-bodied sonics (test drive your next speaker setup with it).

This EP's first "Cliff" mix features vocals by Allen Epley (Shiner, The Life and Times), marking only the second song with a vocalist in Pelican's 15-year output. Epley, who could be audibly mistaken for Mark Lanegan, brings things essentially into a muscular modern rock realm complete with straight lovelorn lyrics ("I'm the one you're gonna love someday") and melodic easy access. On the second mix, Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) swaps the drums for distorted cheese beats, boosts the wistful guitar arpeggios and gauzes things up with ambient layers. On the third and final mix, perhaps the most driving interpretation, Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer (Isis, Palms) go for added buzz and growl and use processed vocal pieces for texture. "The Wait" is a new song of the aforementioned slow-build school-a fine ballad but less compelling than any previous track.

The Cliff works as an expertly curated maxi-single, but also as a top-to-bottom journey in inspiration, purpose, and emotional resonance. Pelican are increasingly essential in a rock extremity that once bore crisp signatures but lately thunders in countless ways. It's not all by their hand, but there's more than a little zeitgeist in this little disc. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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