Sound can often be an illusive object that plays with our expectations. Music furthermore, gives people the tools to turn simple vibrations into complex algorithms of sound. It is this combination of playing with your expectations and manipulating sound that makes Alarmist’s music so intriguing. The Dublin four piece are experts at crafting patchworks of melody and rhythm that fit neatly together.
This is apparent from the onset of ‘Popular Demain’ with opener Petrichor, which is an assault of dissonant tones and jagged rhythmic fragments. The initial congestion makes way for a refrain that opens out into wider pastures with an ethereal synth lead. It is a moment of clarity amidst the noise and it’s this contrast in texture that really makes the song stand out.
Much of the album thereafter is a balancing act, as most of the songs’ complex foundations are complimented by a sharp melodic edge. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Morning, Kepler, a reference to German Renaissance astronomer Johannes Kepler. It is a fitting title as the song conjures up images of the cosmos with its wandering melody. The song’s core is centred around a web of instrumentation that becomes untangled by a melody weaving its way around this elaborate framework.
Alarmist take up a lot of space with their music and this is mainly due to how everything is arranged. At times the instruments act like one single organism rather than distinct individual parts. It is this emphasis on the sound as a whole that makes the album such a sweeping record. This is also partly due to the picture the band paints with sound; with songs titles like CGI Sky and Lost Console their sights are firmly set beyond the stratosphere.
CGI Sky is the first track on the album that resembles some of their peers, such as fellow instrumentalists Snarky Puppy. The gritty bass riff does allude to their sound but it doesn’t imitate it. This is crucial as Alarmist really carve out a niche for themselves on ‘Popular Demain’ and don’t tread over familiar ground. Not only are they a group of gifted musicians but more importantly they are an accomplished band that work together to create vivid soundscapes.
Alarmist aren’t afraid to experiment and stretch out their sound, but sometimes this can work against them as some of the later tracks become stagnant. Musical ideas often take too long to develop, but this is normal on an album as ambitious as this. On ‘Popular Demain’ Alarmist trade the accessible for the eclectic, and ultimately it pays off because as it’s an album full of substance which is a rarity in music nowadays.