Movement And Detail
By: Eric Greenwood
Despite having a diverse musical pedigree, Columbia, South Carolina has never been known for its instrumental post-rock, but Bolt is here to change that. With its newly released sophomore album, Movement and Detail, the trio sheds some of the metal histrionics that peppered its debut in favor of eerie atmospherics and a tighter percussive backdrop. The edgy riffs are still there, but they are couched in subtler dynamic shifts and a much more fully formed sound.
From the opening moments of "The Devil's Paintbrush", Bolt sets an ominous tone, but its true personality is hard to pin down. There's a self-effacing thread that runs throughout the album, just beneath the cool technical precision. A drunken answering machine message at the close of "Knocking on 9" reveals a glimpse of a sense of humor, but the band's music rarely opens itself up to interaction. With instrumental music, the burden is on showmanship, and Bolt easily answers the call with layers of moody, concurrent melodies and bursts of raw riffage.
With more Trans Am and Don Caballero than Dream Theater swirling in its prog-rock cocktail, Bolt even hints at a latent admiration for the Police on "Variables" with delay-fueled guitar lines that recall some of Andy Summers' more profound arpeggios and a penchant for dubbed-out beats that would make Stuart Copeland proud. Bolt's palette extends beyond mere hipster name checking, though. With a more is more attitude, the band readily embraces a wall of effects to bolster its space-age atmospherics. The hypnotic ebb and flow of "Anaphase" is a microcosm of Bolt's universe, as Heyward Sims' guitar lulls you into its airy, nocturnal descent.
The album's pivotal moment is its penultimate track, "Solar." Sims' pneumatic and textured guitar work delicately builds up moments of tension and release with melodies that are staggeringly beautiful. Bill Elliott's artful, intuitive drumming hits its stride midway through the song. The shifting beat punches beneath Sims' refrain, while the bass eloquently answers all of Sims' repetitive nuances. The effect is cerebral and intense. As a bi-polar response to "Solar's" textured beauty, "Kick" closes the album with an out-of-left-field pop punk rocker, replete with handclaps and a driving, upbeat, almost happy disposition.
Movement and Detail is the sound of a band realizing its potential and moving in for the kill.