Vaadat Charigim’s second album, Sinking As A Stone, is both a success and failure, depending on the listener’s perspective. As described by the band, the album is meant to distill feelings of boredom that accompany growing up in Tel Aviv. The Israeli trio has crafted an undeniably well-made, but ultimately hollow and suffocating album. Vaadat Charigim crib wholesale from the tricks of shoegaze godheads like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Cocteau Twins, with a healthy dose of modern post-rock’s operatic tendencies. The band’s songs skillfully languish in beautiful, dreamy spaces for minutes on end, but by the end of the runtimes, they always grind to a halt, all to repeat the same process over again.
Opener, “Neshel” appropriately establishes the arc of each of these songs—a droning surge building into a chorus and lots of pedal work all leading into a tidal wave. There’s plenty of the towering climbs up the fretboard, but over ten minutes, it all feels like too much of nothing.
More often than not, it’s about picking out a snatch of melody or a quirk to grab onto than really enjoying the album as a whole.
“Hadavar Haamiti” is more successful with its galloping drum beat and spin cycle guitars. Yuval Guttman makes every bass drum hit sound like a shotgun blast and has a welcome verve, effortlessly adding double-time cymbals and other flourishes. “Klum,” meanwhile, sounds like a cosmic prom anthem with its disembodied fingerpicking and yearning vocal melodies. Again, Guttman steals the show with a deep tribal drum solo right at the end.
But after those initial checkered successes, the album starts to feel pretty generic. “Imperia Achrona” is as achingly melodic as most B-level Ride songs with an appealing mysticism to its sound, but it becomes tired long before its seven minute plus runtime. Similarly, closer “Hashiamum Shokea” has the biggest opening ear worm with a winding, My Morning Jacket-like guitar riff at the beginning, but it soon switches to stale grunge power chord chugging.
Vaadat Charigim has said it wanted to communicate the boredom of waiting for something to happen, the boredom of being hopeful for change, a possibility of change that’s hung over the head of the band’s troubled home country. And true to its aim, Sinking As A Stone is conceptually successful and deliberate in its choices to let songs swirl and swirl until they find direction. And it’s equally brave of the band to sing all the songs in its native language of Hebrew.
But all the melodic texture in the world can’t change how much of this album just stands there without either thematic cohesion or structural pleasures.
This is clearly an immensely talented band that is familiar with the structures and dynamics of the pioneers. There’s the drift and swaying dreaminess of the genre along with the punishing low and high-ends, and there are disparate cultural elements that at least to this Yankee listener scan as unique, but all of this hero worship doesn’t really add up to anything. There’s nothing to hold onto in this impeccably chaotic slush.
Vaadat Charigim – Sinking As A Stone tracklist:
- “Hadavar Haamiti”
- “Ein Li Makom”
- “Imperia Achrona”
- “At Chavera Sheli”
- “Hashiamum Shokea”