(New Album Review) Long Hallways- The Way Home

The name alone of The Way Home, the new full-length from Portland-based post-rock group Long Hallways contains multitudes. For Americans like myself, home has definitely been looking better. Even the city I call a second home is changing rapidly– easy-going old timers are getting edged out by hip new money, quality live music bills by dance nights and the hype-train mentality. Fingers are pointing, but at the end of the day the culprit is something at the core of our American ennui: if it’s different, it’s bad, the end. This struggle springs to mind intuitively when I listen to this surging, emotive, yet textural and thoughtfully-composed album from the Hallways (their first to be put out on vinyl), one of the most eclectic post-rock bands active these days. If you’re looking for an example of some evidence that Portland still puts out a fair amount of quality exploratory music, look no further…

The quiet-loud dynamic of third-wave post-rock can grip your heart with the best of them, provided the right musicians are at the helm. Daniel Staton’s scorching guitar tone and the thundering pulse of Nicholas Stott and Joseph Chamberlain’s rhythm section give “March of Knives” and “A Butterfly on the Battlefield” the epic feel of a race against time. But it’s Dayna Sanders’ slow-motion flourishes on keyboard and Elise Wong’s violin and cello that truly give it another dimension and hint at the unspoken story within– “Elegy Too Many” and “Crystal Forest” make that pretty clear. Josh Burd’s artwork, a misfit with bloodshot eyes rooted in place like a rickety house on a quiet street, fits the vibe perfectly.

For Portland readers: if you are curious to hear these songs live, you will want to be in attendance tonight at the Tonic Lounge at 8 pm for the 2017 NW Post-Rock Collective Showcase. Long Hallways will be joined by Volcanic Pinnacles, Human Ottoman, Seattle’s You May Die In The Desert, and A Collective Subconscious. It’s the album release party for The Way Home, too! Hope you can make it.

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