Instrumental hard-rock foursome Pelican gets a lot of flack. Music writers enjoy taking out some sort of bottled rage on the band, like Pitchfork writer Grayson Currin, in his review of 2007’s “City of Echoes,” beginning his rant with “That’s it: Fire the drummer.” Or the Village Voice earlier this month, in its review of new Pelican record “What We All Come to Need,” slamming the group for essentially not being metal enough. (The metal community jumped to Pelican’s defense. Check out the recap at The Daily Swarm.) As moronic the criticism of “not metal enough” actually is, I suppose I can see the band being “not metal enough” for some, like Mayhem fans. Certainly doesn’t mean Pelican’s not a worthy band, as it surely is—2005’s “The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw” is one of the best record’s made by a Chicago band in this decade, and I quite liked “City of Echoes” and its redirection towards sweeping melody. “What We All Come to Need” mixes the two records, performing a heavy-but-beautiful balancing act that’s booming, if a little forgettable. It’s not Pelican’s finest hour, but it’s not anything worth regretting either. Plus, there’s a straight-up-metal distorted guitar riff about a minute-and-half into “Ephermeral,” a new song. So there. (Tom Lynch)
December 11 at Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, (773)276-3600, at 10pm. $10-$14.