Album Review: Yenisei - Reflections

Polish post-rock band Yenisei's sophomore album may have slipped under the radar for many...

Elizabeth Meade
4th February 2022

At the end of 2021, I was confronted with a realization: I don't listen to much new music.

The only full albums I'd listened to in 2021 were the two I had previously reviewed for The Courier, that one The Offspring put out and 'Mercurial World' by Magdalena Bay. (The last one, I only listened to because of The Courier review I read.)

Galvanized by this realization, I set out to listen to... the music of 2021. All of it. Going through bands I had already heard of (AFI, Citizen Soldier, Rhapsody of Fire) and a few I hadn't (Gravety, Nine Skies, Sylvan), I listened onwards.

To mitigate the impossibility of this task, I chose a few genres I liked, including post rock, progressive rock and alternative. Despite the plethora of great music that came out, I didn't find a favourite until the calendar had already switched to 2022.

Yenisei is a group made up of bassist Grzegorz Cisek, drummer Michał Gawroński, guitarists Piotr Grobelny and Piotr Klamiński and keyboardist Rafał Piniaź. They are named for the river and can be found on Bandcamp and YouTube. While they describe their music as 'instrumental post-rock', some have compared it to progressive rock as well.

'Reflections' is Yenisei's second post-rock album. The band utilizes many elements that post-rock fans will already enjoy--lots of drums and intense guitar sections--while creating a unique ethereal sound. While the music has the recognizable structure and character of math-rock soundtrack music, with buildup and a steady beat, Yenisei creates a deeper, richer feeling that comes across a lot artistically stronger and evokes emotion.

'Waves' (2021 single)

The best tracks, in my opinion, are in the middle of the album. The band arranges them in such a way as to keep the energy up throughout. 'Gravity' and 'Returns' start and end the album calmly, but aren't terribly interesting in and of themselves. My favourite tracks are 'Waves', 'Blurred Horizon' and 'All That You Could Become'.

The title, 'Reflections', is particularly apt. While I used this as a med-chem exam study track, its balance of dark and light sounds prompted me to look back over my life and how I've grown as a person. The music remains optimistic but still feels rooted in reality. However, don't let the depth scare you--it still works as nice background music.

As much as I enjoy this album, however, some of the tracks are a bit boring. It's also nearly all instrumental, so if you prefer vocals or more technically-difficult experimental bits in your post-rock you may not like this one.

Rating: 4/5

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AUTHOR: Elizabeth Meade
(she/her) 4th year Chem student. Former Head of Current Affairs and Former Science Sub-Editor. Avid reader. Chaos theorist. Amateur batrachologist and historian. Rock fan. Likes cybersecurity and cooking. Wrote the first article for Puzzles. Probably the first Courier writer to have work featured in one of Justin Whang's videos.

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