Another Second Chance by Baulta on 180g Rusty Red/Gold Marble w/ Black Center Blob vinyl in gatefold cover (second press).
Following a period of almost an entire year during which live shows were suspended, and numerous artists released stripped-down, intimate albums informed by their experiences in relative isolation, one of the overarching themes of 2020 inevitably became the idea of quietly looking inward. But while there is certainly a value in introspection, one suspects that most people have had enough of that and are longing to return to the communal spaces they’ve known and loved, be it on stage performing or in the crowd absorbing the unique power that live music holds. We may not quite be there yet, but for the time being what would provide a restorative spark for many people are albums that go big from bands performing as if it’s their last night on stage. On cue comes the Finnish quartet Baulta – a lauded participant at the last dunk!festival – delivering an album of weight, consequence, and deep emotion that reminds listeners of exactly why the band made such an indelible impression the last time we were all together under the dunk! tent.
From the quietly triumphant piano melody that ushers in opening track “Third,” Another Second Chance has the feeling of being like an ocean: expansive, glorious, and inspiring. Over time in the post-rock world the idea of patience has become more and more risky. So many bands try to approach build-and-release soundscapes as something entirely formulaic, resulting in song after song crippled by needlessly lengthy crawls to all-to-brief crescendos, authored by individuals that lack a true understanding of what it is about this genre that moves its listeners. “Third” is but one of many examples on Another Second Chance of how to expertly craft exhilarating instrumental music. It’s not a song that’s running through the motions on a collision course with its climax; every moment, every note, every nuance is carefully constructed to serve the core sensibilities behind it. You don’t need to rely on crescendo-core grandeur if you’re taking the listener on a purposeful journey throughout, and that’s what “Third” does as an introduction to the record. It’s a thoughtful and precise summation of the record’s spirit, traversing uplift, melancholy, joy, introspection, guarded emotion and soaring hope.
Lead single “My Golden Cage” is the kind of song destined to become a central inspiration in a live setting, and even on record it has the power to profoundly move listeners. As anyone who has attended dunk!festival can attest, every year there are a handful of songs and performances that become a central shared memory; performances that transcend the general quality of content spread throughout the weekend to become the excitement playing across everyone’s lips, that assume roles as leading figures for the stories attendees bring home with them, the essence of recollections regarding the power of the entire event. With its confidently lain melodic groundwork, determined dramatic ascent, explosive apex, and reflective outro, it will undoubtedly be a song that will bring us back together in jubilation once we can all meet again. Until that time, Another Second Chance serves as an inspiring reminder of everything we have to look forward to after what we’ve faced during the past year.
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