To hear some good reverb-drenched post-rock on the radio dial or the event horizon, you can do a heck of a lot worse than Heron, the Pennsylvania quartet that made its debut recently with the engaging and shimmering full-length You Are Here Now. On the record, which they self-released, the band situates itself comfortably near the glassy intersection of Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky and Pell Mell, and writes dreamy guitar-led pieces that borrow equally from math-rock, post-rock and even modes of instrumental jazz. It’s worth tracking down.
At about four minutes into the third song on the LP, though, this thing goes from good to great. After a few calculated guitar measures and a short drumroll, the band falls off into a silence for a moment, only to throw itself enthusiastically back into the mix, guitars climbing skyward as the drums plow away. The group stretches the moment for another minute, the guitar continually reaching for the stars, and you wish it would never end. It’s enthralling stuff, the kind of emotional but technically adept post-rock that makes revered acts like Slint and Rodan and June of ’44 – and newer bands like We Only Said and HC-B – so damn inviting in the first place.
The group, however, holds its own throughout all of the proceedings, from the melancholy “Drop,” with its crystalline notes, to the anthemic “Before The War,” which closes the record with thunder. The bluesy thrum of “Ender” roils; the album’s title track, this one sans guitar, levitates. It’s a pretty diverse mix of instrumental music for a band with this distinct and this flowing of a sonic palette.
All you need to hear, though, to believe these guys are the real deal is “Archives,” which has a real sense of forward propulsion. The thing just moves, darting between occasional pensive passages and more driving refrains. It is one-upped only by the aforementioned “Before The War,” a nearly-12-minute-long epic that places Heron among some of the finer American post-rock to catch these days. Do yourself a favor – and, as a Pittsburgher, I don’t say this lightly – check out what’s cooking in northwestern PA.