A band like blanket is something of a rarity within modern music. Their tag of “cinematic rock” might be enough to cause some eyes to roll, but it illustrates the overall difference between a band with a simple, big chorus, and one that can capitalise on every feature of their sound to make it as enormous as possible. The last band to really do this in a more alternative setting was Lonely The Brave, but given how much their fortunes are unfortunately being whittled down, there’s a spot free for blanket to take over, and away from the pressure of a significant mainstream push at that.
Perhaps it may be a bit premature to give a definitive answer for that, but from what How To Let Go delivers, there’s a lot of potential here. Sure, post-rock isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but blanket’s cross-breeding with more conventional alt-rock sounds makes for something a lot more palatable and borderline progressive, swapping out any open-ended meanderings for something with a lot more form. Even if it can still be pruned back just a bit – fifty-five minutes can be a tad excessive, even for the huge ambition on show here – but in what is an undeniably elegant and beautifully arranged album, blanket come out with a winner overall.
And even though the post-rock rule of thumb of there not being that much to really say is still present, blanket still deserve praise for just how lush and grand they sound here. A big part of this is knowing when to keep the sound restrained; tracks like the title track and Beacons sound absolutely gorgeous when stripped back to allow pianos and fluttering guitars to take the reins, and closer Immemorial Sea uses its nearly nine minutes to power its tremendous crescendo that hits the mark of cinematic that aims for. For a primarily instrumental album, there’s a lot to how How To Let Go swells and breathes that makes it a truly affecting listen, armed with crisp production in the strings and guitars to accentuate those gleaming tones even further. It definitely can fall into the background at times like the vast majority of post-rock, but blanket’s crafting is canny enough for that not to happen too often.
It definitely opens up the scope for blanket to find favour outside of the traditional post-rock fanbase, particularly for an album that is as crystalline and well-made as this. They’re certainly casting themselves out wide with this album, though remaining on a foundation that they can pull off undoubtedly well, and bringing it together for an ethereal, effective listen. How To Let Go mightn’t break any new ground, but in giving blanket a sizable push towards to big things they’ll inevitably reach, it gets there with ease, and that’s perfectly fine.
For fans of: Caspian, Mogwai, Lonely The Brave
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘How To Let Go’ by blanket is released on 18th May on Music For Nations.