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Goodbye, Titan's Real Life Awaits Us

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As the adage goes, you should always put your best foot forward, meaning that the best way to make an impression is to immediately wow someone with your best qualities. In personal relationships, it works like a charm; in music, it can often be a trap. On their first full-length, Real Life Awaits Us, Raleigh post-rock colossus Goodbye, Titan falls right in.

The group's talent is never more apparent than on "Drop Everything," Real Life's first track. They come out blazing, ripping into a gusty instrumental where tangled leads race toward heaven as distortion burns in the background. It's a trick the band replicates often, both during the song and throughout the rest of the record. In fact, they do such a good job of building it up and tearing it down in these first 12 minutes, the rest of the album feels almost drab in comparison.

Sure, viewed as a whole, Real Life Awaits Us is a remarkably solid and absorbing hour of sound. The band's texturally rich themes ride patiently, building riffs to rewarding catharses that last for minutes at a time but rarely lose their momentum. They relish in the hyper-distorted excess of Explosions in the Sky, while also giving in to the endlessly looping delirium of Collections of Colonies of Bees. They achieve a bittersweet emotionality all their own.

The remainder has its moments: The lush repeated chords and stately piano of "Temples of Grey" provide a welcome breather late, and closer "Eden" builds from eerie quiet into an arena-ready display over 10 breathless minutes. But none of this beats the opening salvo. Because Goodbye, Titan's tones are a touch monochromatic, Real Life ends up feeling more long-winded than profound. For now, a solid first impression will have to do.

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