My heart smiles one of those subtle, knowing smiles whenever I hear the opening notes of “War on Torpor” from Do Make Say Think’s latest album, Stubborn Persistent Illusions. With all the frenzied energy of a frantically shaken bottle of Coke, “War on Torpor” lays waste to the seminal instrumental post-rock band’s years of dormancy and inactivity. It is their first yawn after years of sleep; Do Make Say Think have come out of hibernation.
They’re not just waking up, they’re working out, too. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is the sonic equivalent of high intensity interval training (HIIT to you gym rats). It’s a direct challenge to the weak and lazy crowding the instrumental indie rock world to flex muscles they’ve never engaged before. The rippling guitar lines, taut drumming, and new musical contours of “Horripilation” finds Do Make Say Think at their most poised. The band is no stranger to long stretches of musical exposition, but “Horripilation” is perfectly paced storytelling.
Telling stories isn’t easy to do without lyrics and a traditional language to communicate, but this has always been Do Make Say Think’s strength. As the world’s attention span collectively shrank over the last two decades, they’ve never shied away from the hard work of detailed, long form composition. It’s taken nearly a decade to follow up 2009’s Other Truths, and yet, when they debuted “Bound” and “And Boundless” earlier this year, the years in between new DMST music instantly dissolved. Though it may have taken even longer than the band itself estimated, Stubborn Persistent Illusions appears before us, wild, untamed, and full of life, ready to tell its tale.