Album review: Drop Electric's 'Finding Color in the Ashes'

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Friday, December 17, 2010

If the title of Drop Electric's debut album, "Finding Color in the Ashes," sounds dramatic, it's because these songs grew out of a personal tragedy: The family of the group's former vocalist, Padma Soundararajan, died in a car accident in India in 2008.

That sorrow is apparent in these mostly instrumental songs. Still, the locally formed group (its members met as students at St. Mary's College of Maryland) also imparts a soaring serenity that recalls post-rock groups Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky. When guitarist Neel Singh plays with a violin bow on the trancelike "Scraping Herself Off the Bottom Rock," the effect is a fluttering drone that lends the song a rumbling, expansive sound.

Elsewhere, the band's use of volume swells is striking. "Bones Beneath the Bridges" begins as a smoldering growl before bubbling over to a dramatic climax, while the title track sounds like a dream that awakens with a vibrant xylophone melody. Though shaped by a sorrowful event, this album surges with a tranquil hopefulness.

- Catherine P. Lewis

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