The Appleseed Cast formed in 1997, back when the term "emo" was recklessly used to describe the heartfelt laments of Sunny Day Real Estate and Jimmy Eat World — and well before instrumental noiseniks like Explosions in the Sky found a mainstream audience. Over the course of six albums, these Lawrence, Kansas, experimentalists have quietly expounded on the first bands' sincerity and paved the way for the latter's atmospherics. AC's latest album, Sagarmatha — which is Nepalese for "Mount Everest" — finds the band at its most bombastic. Huge drums engulf much of the available frequency spectrum on many songs, even as cresting waves of guitar noise, distorted bass rumbles and twinkles of reverb-drenched piano find their way into the mostly instrumental mix. The sparse vocal melodies (which are usually buried and heavy with effects) and the use of sprawling, atmospheric arrangements make for a kind of post-rock shoegaze hybrid — imagine Kevin Shields joining Minus the Bear — that plays to the band's strengths.
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