Record #203: Collections of Colonies of Bees – GIVING (2011)


In my last CCoB post, I likened the way they built their compositions to a game of Jenga–elements are added then removed and placed elsewhere until they can go no higher (higher in terms of form, not in terms of emotional climax, which they don’t trouble themselves with).

On GIVING (their first release after being brought to a wider audience by Volcano Choir, the band they’re in with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon) the game is a little more direct.

The pieces aren’t as oddly shaped as on Birds, nor do they shy away from sudden dynamic shifts like their brothers on the other end of post rock, Explosions in the Sky. In fact, the end of “Lawns” might even find a place in a movie trailer some day—but for an art house indie drama rather than a football movie.

That’s not to suggest (as some have) that GIVING finds CCoB taking the easy way out. There’s still plenty avant-garde textures: “Lawns” itself has a strange vocal part created on a sampler. “Vorms” features an interlude of no fewer than a dozen looped instrument).

In the end, GIVING is just as masterfully crafted as Birds, deciding instead to use combine that experimentation with more immediacy.

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