With “The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw,” Chicago four-piece Pelican made good on the promise it showed with its first few releases. In the band’s second full-length—one of the finest local releases of 2005—a beautiful, melodic chaos forcefully drives the instrumental doom, heavy and thick with throaty guitars that sweep through each other. Not having vocals helps enormously—it’s essential that the listener strictly hears the music, and lyrics would take away any ambiguities.“We realized by touring more and writing more that we enjoyed a balance between the instruments, [taking them] up and down, how they flow, and not being constantly on ten,” says guitarist Laurent Lebec. “Some people think we stripped away too much—but we’re happy. We took ten days [to record the album], and we worked with a smaller budget. We’re doing the band full time now, and it’s been great.”
Lebec agrees that having a vocalist would hurt the band. “The possibility of having unlimited possibilities,” he says of the reason he’s attracted to instrumental music. “It’s a structured thing with vocals—though certainly there are vocalists that can use their voice as more of an instrument. But it’s really nice to write songs and know that it’s just us, not another person weaving into the mix at the end. We’re free of themes that lyrics could put to the songs. It’s really freeing, and really what we’re comfortable doing.”
Lebec estimates that Pelican’s next record will be out in spring 2007, as the band plans to hit the studio sometime near Christmas this year. During the past year of touring, they’ve learned a lot. “We’re definitely letting ourselves get caught up in the moment—the songs are faster, things get kind of chaotic. We really enjoy that, not being afraid to present something different. Especially because instrumental music, for a lot of people, is not the music they listen to primarily. Definitely not for me, and I’m in the band.”
He says that the band members enjoy themselves and realize how lucky they are, to be on tour, to play music for a living. “This is something we wanted to do our whole lives,” Lebec says. “It just happened in our late twenties instead of late teens. We’re tremendously appreciative. It’s tremendously rewarding, and we’re milking it. Especially for this music—a full-time instrumental fucking heavy rock band. If the situation approaches, you don’t pass it up.” (Tom Lynch)
Pelican plays June 10 at Metro, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-0203, at 9pm. $13.